The ZIMBABWE Situation Our thoughts and prayers are with Zimbabwe
- may peace, truth and justice prevail.

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Disaster strikes on farms - Ethnic cleansing - mass displacements

Dumisani Muleya
ZIMBABWE faces a humanitarian disaster of major proportions in the commercial farming districts where hundreds of thousands of farm workers have been displaced in what political commentators describe as ethnic cleansing.

Investigations this week revealed that displacements of farm workers by the fast-track land resettlement programme and concomitant violence had spawned a catastrophe in the hinterlands.

One of the hardest hit areas is Hwedza district in Mashonaland East province. The area has been one of the hot spots since farm invasions broke out last year.

The Hwedza Farming Association this week confirmed sweeping displacements. A spokesman for the organisation said workers at 18 commercial farms had been driven out by government-backed militias.

Farms affected by war veteran raids and state-instigated disruptions in Hwedza include Lifton, Markwe, Shaka, Leeds, Bolton, Fels, Rapoko, Bickleigh, Dube, Gudu, Mbima, Numwa, Nelson, Collace, Lustleeigh, Chakadenga, Plymtree and Mt Arthur.

The farms produce tobacco, paprika, maize, oranges, roses, and rear cattle. The Zimbabwe Independent visited some of the properties to see the plight of farm workers. The situation was miserable.

Glum-looking farm employees narrated sad tales of beatings and harassment. Some said they were now down-and-out and homeless. Others face destitution and living rough. They said they would soon be without roofs over their heads because farmers had been given an October 15 ultimatum to vacate their properties.

Farm workers within and outside the properties also complained of sustained attacks and intimidation by government-sponsored mobs. The situation, they revealed, became worse after the forced closure of the Hwedza Farms Security Company, the disba- nding of the security guards and garrisoning of properties by war veterans.

Farming sources said the Hwedza displacement disaster was a microcosm of a wider scenario replaying itself out on commercial farms across the country. Government has seized about 3 000 farms or five million hectares out of the 12 million hectares previously occupied by commercial farmers.

It has set a target of 8,3 million hectares. This leaves farm workers in the lurch.

There are between 350 000 and 400 000 farm-workers in Zimbabwe. But farm workers, inclusive of their families and relatives, go up to two million.

Most of these people are third generation Zimbabweans originally from Mozambique, Malawi and Zambia. Their grandparents came into the country during the Federation of Rhodesia and Nyasaland which was dissolved in 1963.

In her maiden speech last year, Trudy Stevenson (MDC MP for Harare North) warned of an impending catastrophe on the farms.

“The commercial farming sector employs 400 000 farm workers directly, and in addition 60% of our industry is agriculture related. The collapse of the commercial farming sector therefore puts 600 000 jobs at risk, which is half the total of 1,2 million jobs in the entire formal sector of our economy,” Stevenson said.

Some of the farm workers have accused the government of “ethnic cleansing”.

Charles Aaron, a farm worker at Fels Estates, who originally comes from Zambia, said the situation on the farms had become untenable.

“War veterans came and chased us away last week. We were told to go home but we said we came from Zambia, Mozambique and Malawi and we have nowhere to go. They said they didn’t care.”

Scott Van Memerty, the owner of Fels Estates, said: “The situation is chaotic. We wanted to set up a refugee camp with the assistance of the Red Cross but we were forced to stop.

“They forced the farm workers away from along the main road where they had camped themselves.”

General Agricultural & Plantation Workers Union of Zimbabwe secretary-general, Clement Sungayi, said the plight of farm workers was worrying.
Sungayi said government had been unhelpful on the issue.

“It has not been easy to talk to MPs and ministers over this. It looks like government has no position on the displacement of farm workers,” he said.

Mavis Chindete, a mother of two at Briston farm, said farm workers were left with nothing.

“War veterans forced us to abandon our belongings. We had no time to pack our belongings,” she said.

Farm Community Trust of Zimbabwe director, Godfrey Magaramombe, said there were efforts underway to contain disaster.

“We have been holding meetings with relevant authorities to assist farm workers,” he said. “We held a meeting in Chihwite in Mashonaland West province where 2 000 families were displaced.”

He said farm workers had problems in getting food and other necessities.
“They were obviously distressed when we got there. There is a lot of insecurity among farm workers,” Magaramombe said.

The future of workers at Redwood Park Farm, Cawston Ranch and Glencurragh Farm, all in Nyamandlovu, is in limbo after war veterans occupied the properties in the past fortnight. Between the three properties there are over 170 workers as some have been told to leave.

Workers at Glencurragh Farm told the Independent their livelihood was at stake should farmers and the war veterans fail to resolve the dispute which has led to the rounding up of cattle belonging to rancher, Mike Wood.

Scores of other workers who preferred not to be identified said if their employers were forced to abandon farming operations the ripple effects would be catastrophic for them. There are also concerns about how their pensions would be worked out if they have to be suddenly retired.
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Learnmore Ndlovu
NEVER in the history of Zimbabwe has so much been owed by so few to so many.

The so few being the very small elite group of indigenous “businessmen” and corrupt politicians making multi-million dollar fortunes whilst the many are the vast majority of the nation who are forced ever closer and closer to poverty by the ever-increasing cost of living and ever-declining value of the dollar.

The gap between the rich politician and the poor man in the street is widening daily. While the rich politician glides to work in comfort and solitary splendour in his latest model multimillion dollar luxury motor vehicle, others have to either walk to work or fight to cram themselves into overcrowded buses.

Is the politician concerned about the plight of his people? Not in the slightest — he will even encourage them to help him in destroying the source of their livelihood. This is exactly what is happening to commercial farming and in industry.

There is something terribly wrong with our values today when one man can give away $10 million without concern about his remaining personal wealth while 10 million people in the same country struggle to find enough food to feed the family once a day.

The required ingredients to ruin a country in under 8 000 days are: one self-sufficient country, a healthy commercial farming sector generating foreign exchange, a healthy tourism industry generating foreign exchange, a healthy manufacturing sector generating foreign exchange, a healthy economy creating employment; 12 million compliant and acquiescent inhabitants, one minority population and an ability to mislead the masses.

To start the recipe, the leader must find a few assistants who are willing to be corrupted, turn a blind eye to law and order, and have a strong desire to make personal fortunes at the expense of the masses while ignoring the hardships and devastation they create in the process.

The recipe and method achieve the following: a country dependent upon food aid, a country which owes billions of dollars in real money (US dollars), no inflow of foreign exchange for the employment creating sector; an exporter of labour skills, zero tourism, zero food production, increasing unemployment, personal wealth and fortunes for the leader and the very small group of assistants.

President Mugabe has stated that the land reform programme will be carried out regardless of the economic hardships that this creates for the people.

Sadly the president does not display any enthusiasm to share the hardship he expects his people to suffer.

Even more sad, his people comply with his wishes and accept ever-increasing hardships without complaint or objection. For a few pieces of silver, the idiots in the crowd even sing his praises and dance for him.

Shona culture is credited with a philosophy of not worrying about yesterday, as there is nothing that can be done to change those events, and not worrying about tomorrow as we might not be there. So we only concern ourselves with today.

This is being amply demonstrated by those who are raping the economy for the short-term gain today, with no concern about the effect of their actions on tomorrow or the future.

Only an idiot destroys his source of food for tomorrow so that he can eat today. And that is exactly what we are doing in Zimbabwe today.
For personal gain and at the expense of the people, the politicians are misleading the people, raping and destroying the country. The vast majority of the silent masses have no appreciation of the danger that they are creating for their children.

The open season on looting encouraged by the politician creates very short-term rewards with long-term hardships that are still to be fully understood and appreciated by the looting masses who will suffer misery and food shortages on a scale unknown to them in the past.

The problem in Zimbabwe is that we have no leader in any party with any concept of how to counter the emotive style of leadership and issues created by Mugabe over land distribution.

As much as Smith misled the whites with emotive issues rather than leading with logic and common sense, Mugabe is guilty of the same faulty leadership. We are heading quite happily back into the dark ages so that Mugabe can retain political power.

As far back as two years ago, writers were warning of the dangers we were facing — economic destruction and hyperinflation — facts demonstrated today by a $500 note with the buying power of a $5 note only a few short years ago. All this required logical tho- ught, understanding and appreciation, but it had no emotional appeal to the masses.

Mugabe simply promoted an emotive issue with no concern about fact or effect: some people are wealthy because they have taken your land, and you are poor as a result.

Take back your land and you will be wealthy. Simplistic and believable when you have no way of knowing or understanding that it is not this simple. Mugabe has gone to extraordinary lengths to conceal this fact from the people he is misleading.

We need a leader capable of appealing to the people on an emotional level and on emotional issues to match Mugabe if we are to have any hope of restoring sanity and economic sense to this country. Mugabe has proved this to be fact.

Learnmore Ndlovu is a Harare-based writer.
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THE ZRP has steadfastly dismissed reports that it was in any way involved in the looting of property on farms raided by war veterans in the Chinhoyi area two weeks ago. Four journalists from the Daily News were in fact detained for questioning over the report.

But a Herald report last Friday did let out the secret. They seemed to contradict both the police and the Nigerian high commissioner. After a guided tour of ambassadors in the area, Wilberforce Juta, the Nigerian high commissioner, concluded: “Listening to the police officer I really feel proud that there are people doing their duties.

All facts were at the fingertips. I don’t think the newspapers could have given the information as the officer did.” Really? Muckraker wonders how a diplomat could be so gullible, unless that is the major qualification.

But the Herald reporter had other ideas. After telling us it was illogical for any media to suggest that police vehicles had been used in the looting spree, came the gem: “The fact that police vehicles were used to ferry looted property does not mean they were involved.”

There you have it, as it were, from the horse’s mouth. So police vehicles were involved, but the police were not! So who released police vehicles to the looters? Can we get Juta’s comments on “people doing their duties”?
Then there was the bit about the farmers looting their own property and beating up their own families. As silly as any thing can get and we shall not dignify it with comment.

We have heard this before. When Standard journalists, Mark Chavunduka and Ray Choto were arrested and brutally tortured by the army, the then Minister of Defence Moven Mahachi, went on ZBC TV and told the nation that they had scratched themselves. It passed for fact.

There was something incongruent seeing an aged President Mugabe and a youthful Joseph Kabila standing side by side at Harare airport last Thursday.

Mugabe had the guts to call Kabila “my brother”. He could have easily said “my nephew” if he wanted any relationship at all. Seventy-seven years versus 27 is more than a generation. But more jarring was the states- manship coming from the younger brother.

When asked by Reuben Barwe what he thought about calls for a government of national unity in the DRC, Kabila didn’t have the arrogance and pomposity we have become used to from our own combative leaders.
“Our people will decide that through the ballot,” said Kabila with devastating humility. Wisdom coming from the mouths of babes, Muckraker thinks.

We also think it is for the same reason Kabila has sidelined our own sabre-rattling leader in his search for peace in the DRC. And he seems to be making more progress.

Our own home grown rocket scientist, Professor Jonathan Moyo, seems to have finally reached the moon.

Commenting on a story published in Johannesburg calling for a government of national unity in Zimbabwe between Zanu PF and the MDC, he declared this had already been achi-eved with the signing of the 1987 Unity Accord “and that is the future of this country”.

This level of arrogance is hard to understand. How does Moyo presume to speak for posterity, unless he sees himself as a god of sorts?

Said Moyo: “It does not need a rocket scientist to ... understand ... this familiar cheap propaganda (government of national unity) by anti-Zimbabwean foreign media interests ... We have no doubt that the real ANC understands this and that is why there is no chance in heaven that they will form a government of national unity with the likes of Tony Leon’s Democratic Alliance.”

Only a rocket scientist can make such bold declarations about what happens in the future and in heaven. The simple matter here is that Zimbabwe needs genuine national unity, not the sort cobbled together by Mugabe in his quest for Zanu PF hegemony and personal supremacy in Zimbabwe’s affairs.

But so long as we have people like Moyo who cannot see beyond their selfish personal interests and yet purport to speak for all of us, Zimbabwe is bound to remain mired in the mud for a long time.

Why doesn’t he let the people decide in a ballot what it is they want?
We were interested to read in the Herald last week a story about the Daily News planning to serialise a report of the Catholic Commission for Justice and Peace concerning Five Brigade atrocities in Matabeleland and Midlands provinces.

The report seemed aimed at discrediting Geoff Nyarota rather than ex- plaining what happened during that dark chapter in our history. We thought the Herald would preempt the Daily News by revealing the truth. But of course, to use Emmerson Mnangagwa’s telling phrase, they are “not associated with the truth”. They cannot face it and tell the public the full story.

But a single quotation in the raillery against Nyarota did give us an indication of where the country is headed. Mu-gabe recently said the atrocities in Matabele-land were committed “in a moment of madness which should not be allowed to happen again”.

With the appointment of Godfrey Chidyausiku as chief justice, we can be sure we have a perfect cocktail for disaster — a president committing atrocities on commercial farms in “a moment of madness” and a chief justice passing judgements in “a moment of weakness” and a rocket scientist to justify it all!

We are still perplexed by ZBC’s recent interview with Manicaland governor Oppah Muchinguri. It was a typical bolt from the blue — unannounc-ed, unexplained and completely vague.

Its gist was that a rumour was circulating (we don’t know where) that Josiah Tongogara was assassinated. So Oppah was brought in to explain that this was all fiction, based on rumour. Tongogara had in fact died in a car crash and Oppah was one of the six occupants of the doomed vehicle.

First she said the murderous vehicle was travelling in the opposite direction and it was in the middle of the road. Apparently its trailer veered and hit their car exactly where Tongogara was sitting, killing him instantly. Fine. Then she couldn’t recall whether they were overtaking
the vehicle, but said while they were trying to avoid a collision the driver was also accelerating.

We can forgive Oppah for having forgotten specific details. It’s such a long time back. But she certainly looked unconvincing to viewers. All she could remember properly was that all the occupants were “full of sadza after a very heavy meal”.

Then she seemed to try and blame the accident on the driver because they had been travelling for the past two or three days and nights. Muckraker is convinced there is more than meets the eye here.

We would love to read her memoirs in 10 years’ time, especially how she noticed in her stupor that the trailer was hooked onto the truck “with wires”.
Another issue is just why the ZBC suddenly discovered this rumour, 21 years after Tongogara died? Were they still trying to locate Oppah all these years, we wonder? It is also illumi- nating that the rumour reached fever pitch during this year’s Heroes commemorations. There must be people having nightmares about their sinister past.

Following the massive looting of properties abandoned by whi- te commercial farmers in the Chinhoyi and Mhangura areas a few weeks ago, ZBC’s Reuben Barwe was deployed to Mhangura police station to cover the arrest.

Despite using state resources, we were not shown any of the farm houses looted. It was only the property that had been recovered by the police.

As it turned out, Barwe’s mission was not to expose the looters, but instead to cover their tracks. He was able to reveal that those involved were mainly farm workers.

The purpose of this expose was not lost on viewers: the war veterans must be seen to be saintly and were therefore nowhere near the scene of this dastardly business.

As Mahoso had just explained in some perverted epiphanic insight the previous Sunday, war veterans are “closer to Christ”. They can do no wrong. The point is obviously to let them off the hook. After all, if they were arrested this would necessitate a pre-sidential pardon, which would be very inconvenient in the public eye.

Their mission in the election strategy is not over yet and viewers are well aware of all the chicanery going on on the farms.

Which is why Philip Magwaza’s stream of leaden stories in the Sunday Mail should be ignored with the contempt they sorely deserve.
The Media Monitoring Project has been critical of the way the press failed to subject the Registrar-General’s office to scrutiny during the recent Bindura by-election.

“It has merely been taken for granted that about 5 000 more voters appear on the by-election roll than appeared on last year’s parliamentary voters’ roll for the same constituency,” it says. “None of the media seems to have asked the RG’s office where these “extras” came from. It was also reported that the supplementary voters’ roll was incorporated into the main roll, but none of the media asked why this had been done.

“Nor was the Election Directorate quizzed about the large number of mobile polling stations, or who acted as monitors. In fact, none of the media quoted a single monitor or their supervising organisations in their reports on the
conduct of the by-election.”

The Independent was among newspapers criticised for not digging further.
The criticism is duly noted. We should all be more diligent in reporting on the role of the RG’s office in registering supplementary voters and the Election Directorate in supplying mobile polling stations to areas where supervision is questionable.

Zimbabwe’s whole electoral process is one vast grey area that eludes adequate scrutiny and manipulation is taking place at an accelerated pace.

Last weekend Border Gezi’s successor, El-liot Manyika, was in Bulawayo trying to reen-act the border-to-border dance. As they would say in drama, you could see the man was “acting”.

Not as natural as it came to Border.
He was propagating money to all and sundry for development projects he said. But he was quick to point out, lest his actions be misconstrued by the opposition as vote-buying, he was not campaigning for Zanu PF’s mayoral candidate.

Unfortunately the people betrayed him. Most of those who had gathered to entertain him and were receiving money wore T-shirts inscribed “Vote George Mlilo”, the Zanu PF candidate. Where was all that money in the last 20 years?

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Zanu PF leaders using land to win votes

THE land question has never been an issue in the hearts and minds of Zanu PF leaders, never. They used it to motivate guerillas, the villagers and peasant farmers. They used it to hoodwink the world that they needed their land.

They are now using it again to win votes and after that they will go back to what they do best — amassing wealth for themselves. All they need are power and riches.

They have amassed wealth and now that people have realised it and want to boot them out they stand up on top of mountains, graves, in rivers and seas, in their posh cars shouting L-A-N-D!

Why did they use to dispatch the so-called black boots to evict the poor who were resettling themselves on unoccupied land? How many people from 1980 lost their belongings in fires and bulldozers sent by the government?

Was the word squatter made popular by MDC politicians? Now they shout the British! Yet they dehumanised their own people in the wee hours of that day in preparation for the coming of the British Queen to Harare.

Did they not appropriate the late Ndabaningi Sithole’s farm when he decided to house the people of Harare? The Svosve people are a witness to this brutal regime.

The British gave us money to resettle the landless and we abused it. If these power-hungry pseudo-revolutionaries wanted a transparent land reform programme and did it in good faith, all land hungry people would have been resettled in the first 10 years of Independence.

To show that the Zanu PF strategy is about power and not land, why are we having farm workers being evicted from land with nowhere to go?

This is just because they are perceived to be MDC supporters. And with the able connivance of the registrar-general, these people are no longer eligible to vote because they have been chased away from their constituencies.

God forgive, I now know why we have so many wars in Africa for if these people are to have a share of the nation’s cake, they will have to wage a war.

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Peter Lovemore
IT’S just about official. Next year’s tobacco crop will, if the country is extremely fortunate and the weather behaves itself, be somewhere bet- ween 120 - 140 million kg.

A year ago we were in the process of disposing of 237 million kg, whilst this year’s crop, the one that, thanks to the unprecedented interference of the Tobacco Industry Marketing Board, is taking so long to sell, will weigh in at about 190 million kg.

So, there you have it. In the space of two seasons a precipitous decline in production figures of somewhere close to 40% will have taken place. No, I did not consult with the ZTA, the CFU, the ZFU or the Ministry of Agriculture on these predictions. I have not had to do so.

I have simply sat at home and watched the television reports of the wholesale evictions now taking place in virtually every corner of commercial farming country; listened first-hand to accounts of how tobacco seedbeds have been uprooted and farmers threatened with nothing short of death should they dare so much as prepare one square inch of their land for next season’s crop

And, although it need hardly be added, the now-infamous August looting of Lomagundi has all but sealed the fate of organised farming in that once-rich region around Chinhoyi, Doma and Mhangura.

I have been generous, far too generous in fact, with my prediction. Make that 100 million kg. It simply is not possible to violently disrupt a pattern of production established over five or six decades and then expect that previous targets, in terms of both quantity and quality, will emerge unaffected in the face of such sudden and savage dislocation. Tobacco, ma-ize, wheat, beef, paprika, horticulture, pork — you name it, every one of these commodities is set for a catastrophic decline in production.

Tobacco industry

But it’s the tobacco industry which concerns me here, not merely for its priceless ability to produce an annual flood of foreign exchange, but equally because of the huge and irreplacea
ble infrastructure which supports every facet of it in this country. Forget about the agony on most farms for a minute, although it is difficult to do that I’ll grant you.

Think, instead, of the massive investment on the trade and auction floor side of the fence, those gargantuan processing plants and auction floor warehouses.

Now, if you can bear to, think of the exponential increase in job losses that will most certainly arise as the tobacco industry begins to down- size.
Getting the picture? Now, consider this. Once our tobacco crop drops below a certain volume — say 120 million kg — it starts to lose its viability in global supply terms and the many satisfied customers, hard merchants every last one of them, who have purchased our leaf over such a long period of time on the basis of continuity of supply and, just as importantly, proven quality, will have little choice but to turn to other sources.

Once that process starts it could, nay would, take decades to lure them back. This is exactly what stares us all in the face right now, as we speak, as we write and, yes, as we quake in our boots with fear at just what is happening to our country.

The anti-smokers

Of course, the World Health Organisation and its grandees will be doing double somersaults of joy at the prospect of Zimbabwe’s internationally-respected tobacco industry being finally decimated to the point where it will supply local smokers only, if even them. International bureaucrats, however, have seldom understood what it is that drives an economy and creates much-needed employment.

Even as they are whooping gleefully at an imagined reduction in cancer- related deaths from smoking, they will remain oblivious to the quantum leap in mortality rates from sheer poverty and hopelessness in a country like ours, one which already labours under crushing unemployment figures.

I shudder to think of a world run by a bureaucracy as large and inefficient and often ineffectual as that operated by the United Nations from its air-conditioned glass tower in New York City.

That may never happen, but there will be a party in the WHO’s wing of the building when we are done for in tobacco terms, whereafter they will turn their attention to Brazil.


Oh Lord, and we have not even started talking about what are fashionably referred to as “downstream industries”. They will simply be carried away on the flood, a flood which, like all floods, will have absolutely no mercy on those caught in its path; one which will destroy, decimate and then, when done, carelessly toss aside its victims, leaving nought but chaos and despair in its wake.

This is the flood that rages down upon us all at the onset of the uncertain summer that lies ahead.

It will not respect its victims for who or what they were before its power was unleashed. Huh! White farmer were you? Freedom fighter, landless peasant, diesel mechanic, accountant? Mother, grandfather, rich merchant, child? Soldier, policeman, politician? Who cares?

This flood will roar, before it sweeps us irresistibly to a new and infinitely more dangerous destiny.

Small consolation

The only consolation, and it is a very small one, is that amongst the flotsam and jetsam deposited on dark and distant shores will be most of the politicians who, at worst, were responsible for the flood or, at best, sat in hypnotic fear twiddling their thumbs whilst their colleagues fuelled the raging waters.

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ON August 17 the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe, with the approval of the Minister of Finance and Economic Development, made an order titled the Exchange Control (Exchange Rate Management (Amendment Order), 2001 (No1) under Statutory Instrument 261A of 2001.

That order amended a somewhat similar order issued in 2000, and prescribed that “any direction” issued in terms of certain specified regulations “shall be binding on any person who, in Zimbabwe, sells or provides any goods or service, whether within or outside Zimbabwe”.

It further precludes any such person from charging or receiving “a price in Zimbabwe dollars in respect of such goods or service in excess of the price obtained by applying the maximum ex- change rate” as is, in practice, determined by the authorities, commonly known as the “official” or “fixed” exchange rate.

The order was accompanied by extensive press reportage that the measures’ intent was to curb the operations of the foreign currency parallel market, which market has long been frowned upon by both the state and the Reserve Bank and frequently alleged to be illegal although that did not constitute a deterrent for many parastatals to operate within that market.

Authoritative representatives of the Reserve Bank, interviewed on radio and television, and widely reported by the press, stated that it would now be unlawful for any to sell goods or services at prices which are determined having regard to parallel market rates.

From the point of view of the declared objectives of the order, and from the point of view of constructive exchange rate mana- gement in the best interests of the Zimbabwean economy, the Statutory Instrument is yet another example of Zimbabwean officialdom’s recurrent tendency to act first and think later (if at all), another example of ineffect- iveness, and another example of destructive policy.

Even the title of the order is misrepresentative, for its consequences are such that it would more accurately have been titled the Exchange Rate Mismanagement Order.

First of all, all in authority who have commented upon the order failed to disclose that directions as referred to in the order are directions as are given, in terms of the principal regulations, to foreign exchange dealers, and are not given to the public as a whole, or even to those generally engaged in selling or providing goods or services.

Although it is for those as are experts in law to give authoritative interpretation, and not for economic commentators, press reporters or captains of commerce and industry to do so, it is difficult to understand how the order in its present form can apply to all within the economy, unless it can be evidenced that the “direction” issued is directed lawfully to them and that they are, directly or indirectly, recipients thereof.

But even if the order does in fact apply to all, and not only to foreign exchange dealers, it has other very pronounced defects.

First of all, it is difficult if not impossible for its provisions to be effectively enforced. How on earth can the authorities meaningfully monitor the prices charged, or the prices received, for goods and services? Moreover, should such price monitoring be practically and realistically possible, how can the authorities establish that such price has been obtained by applying particular exchange rates, be they those as fixed by the authorities, or rates in excess thereof?

An even greater defect is that the spirit and intent of the order can so readily be circumvented. Unless (heaven forbid!) percentage margins of profit were to be controlled by regulation or legislation, and that similarly the formulae for recovery of production and other operational costs and for recovery of overheads are controlled, any purveyor of goods or services can adjust price determination policies by recovery imported input costs based upon the fixed exchange rates whilst inflating the other cost and profit recovery factors.

Thus, the practical efficacy of the order is zero, for it can most readily and simplistically be circumvented, apparently without breach of law.

However, the overriding fault in the order and, especially, in its targeted objectives, is that the sole major effect is further economic devastation.
Within one business day several exporters deliberately failed to execute export orders, costing Zimbabwe millions of US dollars of critically nee- ded foreign exchange.

The exporters understandably were fearful that by the time the export proceeds were forthcoming, there would be no parallel market in which to deal and that the proceeds would be realised into Zimbabwean dollars at the fixed rate.

As the promulgation of the order was not accompanied by a very necessary simultaneous, substantial, official currency devaluation, the yield at the fixed rate would be pitifully low as compared to the costs of the exporters and, therefore, massive losses would be incurred.

The cessation of those exports has exacerbated the parlously small foreign exchange resources available to Zimbabwe, whether in the official or the parallel markets.

The result has been to intensify shortages of essential inputs for the agricultural, mining, manufacturing and other economic sectors, those needed for Zimbabwe’s health delivery system, and as required for almost every facet of daily life.

A direct consequence has been a further reduction in productivity, and that in turn fuels once again the very inflation which the authorities are allegedly seeking to contain. All efficiencies of commerce and industry are eroded, and necessarily the costs of reduced efficiency are passed on to consumers in commodity and services price increases.

The curb in exports stimulated by the regulation not only repercusses negatively upon the parallel market, but also upon the official market, for the 40% mandatory release into the latter at fixed rates automatically diminishes. And the increased scarcity of foreign exchange in both markets has undoubtedly motivated increased recourse to the wholly unlawful black market, recently referred to by the Minister of Finance and Economic
Development as “the World Bank in Bulawayo”. This is proving to be still another cause of high inflation for, despite the ill-conceived legislation, the costs of currency procurement are, in one way or another, passed on to the consumer.

Even before the issuance of the new regulation, some — including several international airlines — had abandoned price determination in Zimbabwean dollars.

Not only did they fix their prices in hard currencies, but they demand payment in those or other convertible currencies. (Of course, government has itself long done that in respect of airport departure taxes, entry fees to National Parks, and the like). Since the gazetting of the Statutory Instrument, this practice has become very prevalent.

With the exception of Air Zimbabwe, all airlines are reported to require payment in US dollars, and the distributors of satellite dish television services are doing similarly. Many importers of goods, and manufacturers of products with high import content are now only pricing in US dollars.

Far from managing Zimbabwe’s exchange rates, the authorities have once again grossly mismanaged them. In doing so they have brought even greater chaos than before into the economy, caused further economic slow-down, hastened business closures and greater unemployment, and once again demonstrated not only an inability to understand practical economics, as distinct from the theories, but also a continuing reluctance to consult and interact with the private sector before acting.

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Citizenship law sparks outrage

Vincent Kahiya
THE Zimbabwean government’s decision to force all dual nationals to renounce their foreign citizenship in January next year has created administrative problems for embassies and could create tension between Harare and the region.

The legislation, which came into effect on July 6, requires all dual nationals to renounce their foreign citizenship by January 7 2002 if they wish to retain Zimbabwe citizenship. Those who miss the January 7 deadline will automatically lose their citizenship and might be forced to leave the country. The restoration of citizenship will cost $25 000 and one-and-a-half years to process.

Diplomats from the region have held meetings with Registrar General Tobaiwa Mudede and have raised complaints about the inconvenience.

“He simply told us that we had to put in place mechanisms that ensure that all the affected people renounce before the deadline. It appears as if there is no going back on the decision,” said one diplomat.

The legislation, widely viewed as having been targeted at whites, has now produced headaches for foreign missions, which now have to grapple with large numbers of people wanting to renounce.

Problems have however arisen, as most foreign missions stationed here do not have the capacity to process the citizenship renunciation by the set deadline. Worse still people domiciled here who would be affected by the new legislation are not aware of the sad predicament faces them come January 7.

Most of them have learnt of the new regulations when trying to renew passports at the Registrar General’s Office. Officers at the passport office are refusing to renew passports unless certificates of renunciation are produced.

Children of Malawian, Zambian and Mozambican migrant workers born and have lived here all their lives and have voted in past elections, are being asked to renounce their entitlement to foreign citizenship.

Foreign missions which spoke to the Zimbabwe Independent this week, said the legislation was pernicious as people with Zimbabwean identity cards and passports but whose parents or grandparents were not born here were being asked to apply for renunciation.

Zambia’s deputy High Commissioner to Zimbabwe Ben Shawa said his office was receiving an average of 500 applications every week since the new legislation came into being.

He said some of the people who were being asked to renounce their Zambian citizenship had already done so.

He said under the current circumstances, it was not possible for Zambia to
issue renunciation certificates before the January deadline.

“What happens is that we send the applications to the Ministry of Home Affairs in Zambia and a citizenship board which meets quarterly then looks at the applications before making a decision. So you can see that if someone applies today, the application will only be looked at in October or November,” he said.

He said they had applied to the Zambian government for special powers to issue certificates of renunciation from Harare and by-pass the board.

“We have not yet received a reply on that and we do not actually know whether our applications will be accepted or not. It might even need to go to cabinet (in Zambia) before we get a reply.”

Diplomatic sources this week said foreign missions of Mozambique, Malawi, South Africa and India were in a similar predicament.

South African High Commission in a statement last night said it took three to four months to renounce foreign citizenship in the country.

The Independent understands that staff at the RG’s office are accepting receipts of application as proof of renunciation but this is a loose application of the law. The law clearly states that dual nationals will cease to be citizens of Zimbabwe unless they “effectively renounce” their foreign citizenship.

In the past, a number of British nationals applied for renunciation at their High Commission here and took their receipts to the RG’s office where these were accepted as proof of renunciation. This, diplomatic sources said, had now stopped. It takes up to six months for the British Home Office to issue certificates of renunciation and those applying now might miss the January 7 deadline.

At least 20 000 British nationals will be affected by the legislation which analysts said was fashioned as a political gimmick.

“The idea is to prevent whites from voting as Zimbabweans in elections and then claiming British or American nationality when they want to be evacuated from the country,” said one analyst.

He said President Mugabe could exploit the situation likely to obtain in January to garner support from regional leaders for his policies and to wrest concessions from the British government using the human mass as wagers.
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UN, EU mission fails to arrive

Dumisani Ndlela
A COMBINED mission on Zimbabwe’s land crisis made up of the United Nations, the European Commission and the World Bank expected to visit Zimbabwe this month has failed to materialise and the international community is running out of patience over Zimbabwe’s deepening crisis, sources said this week.

It was not clear why the mission, which meant to persuade President Robert Mugabe to abandon his controversial land reform programme which has resulted in the displacement of thousands of farm workers and left a trail of violence, failed to make it this week.

“They failed to come but the proposal for their visit had been put forward to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs,” a source told the Zimbabwe Independent.

The delegation was expected to hold talks with Mugabe in an attempt to negotiate a workable land reform exercise and to persuade the government to compensate white commercial farmers whose land the government has expropriated to resettle peasant farmers.

“The combined mission wanted to convince Mugabe to return to a land reform and resettlement plan approved by international donors at the September donor conference on land in 1998,” a source said.

The resolution of the land conference had been that Zimbabwe would conduct its land redistribution exercise in a transparent manner and according to the rule of law, with compensation for land taken by the government for resettlement.

But under the current controversial reform exercise, the government, which wants to seize roughly 50% of Zimbabwe’s prime land from the white commercial farmers, has vowed that it will not compensate farm owners for land taken but will only pay for improvements made to the land.

The mission was expected to press Mugabe to pay full compensation to farm owners who bought the land after Independence in 1980.

Sources said the mission was meant to reverse Mugabe’s exercise ahead of a deadline given by the European Union for him to stop the controversial land reforms or face sanctions from the EU.

No comment could be obtained from the EU delegation in Zimbabwe or the UN resident representative who was said to be out of the country.

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Time to be honest

IT was always inevitable that Zimbabwe’s beef producers would lose their lucrative European market. And while that doesn’t detract from the ruinous affect on farmers’ incomes, it does focus attention on what is happening in Zimbabwe today. The Foot and Mouth outbreak had to happen, but what is now important is that the causes are not buried under a pile of placatory rhetoric.

It had to happen because Zimbabwe is a lawless country. Anarchy allows the free movement of cattle and wildlife between zones that were once effectively controlled. Self-styled war veterans have cut fences that should never have been cut and the once enviably managed veterinary department has done far too little to bring the situation under control.

Under the Lomé Convention, patronising and contrary to the principles of free trade though it may be, Zimbabwe has been allowed to export beef to Europe. And when EU inspectors last visited Zimbabwe, they were unhappy with what they found. They wanted controls on animals reintroduced and they wanted several hundred vacancies in the veterinary department filled.

That didn’t happen. The veterinary department will blame the politicians who are driving the lawlessness, but they’ll do so in the form of whispered asides, behind closed doors. They are not the ones, they’ll say, our minister did it – he didn’t allow us to restore law and order and the treasury withheld the funds. That may all be true, indeed it is true, but then these things should have been stated openly months ago. The "it’s more than my job’s worth" attitude that prevails among men of so-called principle is slowly destroying Zimbabwe.

The veterinary department should have told farmers that the EU’s demands were not being met and why. If that point of principle caused men of principle to be fired, plans could have been made to save both those men and the industry. Instead, Zimbabwe sat on its laurels and said that at least the vet department was doing what it could to keep the Europeans at bay.

Well, that failed, didn’t it? And it had to. If anyone thought that prevarication and promises would satisfy the bureaucrats in Brussels, then their thinking was wishful to the point of foolishness. Complaining that farmers and civil servants are dealing with a recalcitrant government that keeps throwing teddy bears out of the cot was never going to assuage the worries of the EU. They wanted to know that the 800 vacancies were being filled, that cut fences were being mended and that the movement of animals was being controlled. If those things didn’t happen, they said, they’d remove the quota.

The veterinary department’s director, Dr Stuart Hargreaves, banned exports before the EU could do it themselves – but not because the EU’s demands were being disregarded by the government he works for. He banned exports after Foot and Mouth had been confirmed in Bulawayo. Which, to use a tired but appropriate cliché, is shutting the barn door after the cow has bolted. It is a case of too little too late, and it might as well have been done voluntarily when the EU’s rather fussy inspectors visited the country to look at the situation for themselves.

Little good will come of the ban. Europe is paranoid about food safety and Foot and Mouth is a particular obsession of theirs. It may be that even more stringent controls are placed on Zimbabwe in future – and to Zimbabwe’s everlasting shame, it may be that the EU places stricter conditions on other exporting nations as well. Once again, Zimbabweans will have self-righteous fingers pointed at them.

Farmers will look to their leaders for new markets, but none are likely to be as profitable or discerning as the European one. It is, for those who were allowed to export, a particularly vicious blow. And because it is such a blow, someone needs to be blamed.

In simple terms, that is easy. The blame lies squarely at the hands of so-called war veterans who destroyed a system that was once thought to be among the world’s best. Their senseless ruination of Zimbabwe allowed the Foot and Mouth outbreak to happen and they must be blamed for it. So must their sponsors, going all the way to the highest level. And so must be the veterinary department for its mendacious refusal to state the facts regarding the lack of progress. It often seems that in Zimbabwe today there are a great many well-meaning men and woman, good and honest people, who are fixated with hiding the reality of the country’s problems from the outside world. They will prove to be Zimbabwe’s greatest problem as the difficulties mount over the coming months.

One has to look long and hard to see the good in something so appalling as an outbreak of Foot and Mouth Disease, but if there is good, then it is to be found in the fact that the world will be reminded that nothing, absolutely nothing, has been done to end the errant behaviour of the government. Dr Made’s ministry can also take a huge portion of blame for the disease, and for the effect it will have on farmers already reeling under impossible stress. And that means that the truth about the outbreak must now be told. Nothing will come by saying that it was a chance outbreak, that, after all, the disease is endemic to the country. That is not the point, because the point is simple: Zimbabwe was allowed to export to Europe because its controls were among the most advanced in the world, including the western world, and because it managed the system impeccably. The point is also that Zimbabwe wants to continue exporting beef to Europe and nothing should be said or done to dampen that possibility in the future. The only way to achieve that is through complete and open honesty – and that requires that the blame be laid where it belongs, not on nature, not on chance, but at the government’s feet.

Brian Latham
Editor- The Farme

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Teenage girls abducted.
Cattle ban disappointment.
Jailed farmers out at last.
Police, army, CIO to evict invaders on some designated farms.
The terror and misery of farm workers
Farm workers' plight continues to worsen
FMD outbreak was inevitable, say experts
CPA appeals to government over FMD outbreak

CPA appeals to government over FMD outbreak

CHAIRMAN OF Zimbabwe’s Cattle Producers Association (CPA), Mr Tim Reynolds has appealed to government to immediately clamp down on illegal movement of cattle, which he said, was occurring unchecked throughout the country. The appeal follows the discovery this week of an outbreak of the potentially devastating Foot and Mouth Disease (FMD) in the Matabeleland region.

In a statement this week, Mr Reynolds warned that without commitment from government to clamp down on illegal cattle movements, "it will be impossible to control the spread of the FMD. The sooner the FMD outbreak is isolated and the affected areas quarantined, the sooner the FMD free regions can resume relatively normal operations," he said.

He was, however, not overly optimistic about the resumption of beef exports to overseas and regional markets. "Unfortunately, the current FMD crisis in the UK and the recent problem in the RSA (South Africa) are likely to prevent an early resumption of exports to these markets."

Interviewed on Zimbabwe Television soon after the outbreak, the Minister of Lands, Agriculture and Rural Resettlement, Dr Joseph Made, said government had suspended all beef exports to preempt inevitable bans from importing countries.

The current outbreak was detected in cattle that were being transported from a Cold Storage Company feedlot near Bulawayo to the company’s abattoir in Bulawayo. Follow-up investigations revealed that cattle in the nearby Agri-Auctions feedlot were also infected.

In his report to farmers and other stakeholders on the outbreak, Mr Reynolds outlined some of the measures already taken as.

With immediate effect, all exports of beef, pork and diary products have been suspended and the EU, South Africa and SADC authorities notified.

All movement of meat products out of the Bulawayo area have also been temporarily suspended and roadblocks set up at Shangani/Insiza, and Gwanda/Colleen Bawn to ensure compliance.

All movement of livestock throughout Zimbabwe is temporarily banned, other than for direct slaughter at approved abattoirs. Movement permits must be obtained from the Veterinary Services Department, and not from honorary issuers. The ban also includes the Harare Agricultural Show.

The Cold Storage Company has also ceased all slaughtering of cattle at its abattoirs until further notice.

Mr Reynolds said the Department of Veterinary Services, with the assistance of other stakeholders in the industry, were carrying out measures to contain the outbreak by tracing back linkages to the affected feedlots. "As of 21 August, infection had also been located on CSC ranches at West Nicholson (Chomfukwe and Umzingwane) at the Agri-Auctions property at Marula. All the affected properties had been quarantined.

In statement issued on Friday following an FMD taskforce meeting, Mr Reynolds said: "FMD lesions were found in 28 herd of cattle in the Triangle quarantine feedlot on Tuesday, 21 August. These cattle had been moved from the Maximhill feedlot near Bulawayo three weeks prior to this discovery. None of the other cattle in the feedlot were found to be infected which reinforces the theory that these cattle had already moved beyond the infectious phase before translocation to Triangle"

The veterinary department had identified the type of FMB as the SAT2 strain. Previous outbreaks were SAT1 and SAT3, and the veterinary experts believe the current outbreak can be traced to cattle coming into contact with a known carrier, buffalo, although the exact source of the outbreak had not been established at the time of going to press.

In the meantime, said Reynolds, the veterinary department and CPA jointly appealed to all cattle producers, particularly in Matabeleland and Masvingo provinces to inspect their cattle thoroughly and report anything suspicious to the relevant authorities.

"The CPA supports this appeal notwithstanding existing farming disruptions, and requests its members to assist DVS where possible," said Reynolds.

At its meeting on Friday, the FMD taskforce outlined the parameters of the quarantine areas as:

Infected properties – because of carrier status, no cattle movement off the property other than that for direct slaughter for four years. The DVS would prefer all cattle identified to be in the carrier status slaughtered.

All properties within a 10 km radius of an infected property will remain in quarantine for six months.

All properties in a 10-20 km radius will be quarantined for four months.

All properties in a 20 – 40 km radius will be quarantined for two months.

Mr Reynolds said although movement of cattle, except for direct slaughter, had been frozen, special cases where producers are forced to move cattle will be considered on individual merit by DVS officials.

FMD outbreak was inevitable, say experts

By Kuda Matare

THE outbreak of Foot and Mouth Disease (FMD) in Zimbabwe was expected because of illegal cattle movements within and out of restricted zones, including conservancies that carry buffalos, well known carriers of the disease, veterinary experts have said.

The Department of veterinary Services was this week still investigating the source of the FMD out break. However, Masvingo Commercial Farmers Union (CFU) regional chairman, Mr Mike Clark, said although news of the outbreak was "devastating" owing to the breakdown of law and order in most areas, it was only a matter of time.

"We are devastated, but it was expected. We just did not know when," he told The Farmer.

He said since the farm invasions started, on 17 February 2000, "We have been appealing to government through various ministries, governors, MPs, ministers and law enforcement agencies on the dangers posed by human and cattle movements across veterinary zones."

He pointed out that experienced local and international veterinary experts, had after identifying and isolating FMD danger areas, put the zones in place. But all the extensive lobbying and negotiations have remained fruitless, said Mr Clark.

He added: "We were blatantly told, ‘to hell with the EU exports,’ who needs them. We will shoot all the buffalo. Just do not get in the way of the land reform programme - land comes first."

The EU beef market has been one of Zimbabwe’s major sources of the desperately needed foreign currency. Zimbabwe has an export quota of 9100 tonnes of beef worth about $2 billion dollars. All exports of livestock products to the EU, South Africa and the region have since been halted.

In early July this, the Wildlife Producers Association, at its annual general meeting attended by the then deputy minister of Environment and Tourism, Mr Edward Chindori-Chininga,

farmers had warned that the problems in Save Conservancy and Gonarezhou were a major threat to the EU beef export market as fences had, in some areas, completely destroyed.

Mr Chindori -Chininga told the farmers that he was aware of the problems, but "you must understand the need to address the land issue."

He said although the veterinary department was doing its best, against various impediments including present politics and underfunding, some of their staff were still not taking appropriate action in the wake of the current outbreak, to prosecute and stop illegal movements of cattle.

"Cattle are today being illegally moved into, and from conservancies, and are presently having direct contact with wild buffalo. They are refusing to act because the illegal fast-tracking comes first," said Mr Clark.

During the war of liberation, he said, "I was extensively involved in the control of FMD outbreaks, where there was a similar breakdown of law and order. This went on for over five years before it was finally controlled when law and order returned, with the massive EU donor financial assistance".

"As things stand at the moment I cannot foresee an early conclusion to this FMD outbreak, until law and order returns, and the effect of this is going to be catastrophic to our already flailing industry."

CFU President, Matabeleland region, Mr Mark Crawford, said because of the break down of law and order and inadequate funding, the Department of Veterinary Services was unable to effectively do its job.

EU veterinary experts were in the country early this year to inspect veterinary control measures and expressed concern over the situation in the Save Conservancies. Among other things, the team recommended that the problem of illegal cattle movement and the cutting down of veterinary control fences be rectified. But it is understood that despite efforts by the veterinary department and the department of National Parks to rectify the problem so called war veterans and Zanu PF militants continue to interfere.

Farm workers’ plight continues to worsen

THE plight of farm workers, forcibly evicted out of their homes by rampaging so called war veterans and Zanu-PF militants in the Hwedza farming area, continued to worsen this week as scores more were being thrown out off their farms. It is estimated that at least 3000 farm workers have been rendered homeless and those who want to offer help are still being barred while the police insist the matter is not an issue for the law enforcers.

Efforts by the Farm Community Trust of Zimbabwe (FCTZ) to help those illegally evicted farm workers this week were frustrated by war veterans said to have allegedly blocked passage of the FCTZ team into the Hwedza area to help. Last week the government is said to have turned down an offer by the International Committee of Red Cross to help the increasingly destitute farm workers.

Sources told The Farmer that the war veterans and officials from the district administrators’ office, who both constitute the district land committee, spearheading the controversial land reform programme in Hwedza District, were suspicious of the motive of the FCTZ saying they had no knowledge of the organisation. The sources said they demanded to know more about FCTZ before it could be allowed to help the displaced farm workers.

FCTZ is a nongovernmental organisation which looks after the welfare of farm workers. The FCTZ officials were this week in Hwedza trying to explain their position with regards the assistance they offer to farm workers. However, the details of their meetings with the district land committee were not available at the time of going to press.

Police spokesman, assistant commissioner, Wayne Bvudzijena, said the evictions were a matter for the courts and could only be processed through the courts and did not necessarily need police involvement. He said, "Have you checked whether those farms have been designated or not. In any case evictions are not a matter for the police. We don’t have an interest in that. They should approach the civil courts."

The Commercial Farmers’ Union (CFU) Mashonaland East regional executive, Mr Steve Pratt, said it was wrong for the police to say they cannot do anything.

"For police to claim they can not do anything when a crime of this nature is being committed is clearly wrong. They have a constitutional duty to do something. As soon as it is judged to be political they claim they can’t do anything but they have a constitutional obligation to do something about it," said Mr Pratt.

He said there were so many events happening on the farms but nothing was being done to protect the victims.

Mr Pratt said in some cases farmers had been told to leave their farms altogether with their labour while in other cases farmers had been ordered to pay off their workers and some had complied while others had not. In some instances, he said, the so-called war veterans assaulted some of the workers during the illegal evictions.

He said four farmers had evacuated from the area and had been offered accommodation with friends elsewhere.

He said farmers workers had, in some instances, been offered assistance in the form of blankets, food and other basic needs but it was difficult to do anything meaningful.

"Lets not forget that these people have been traumatised since during the parliamentary election so it doesn’t take much to tell them jump and they will do so," said Mr Pratt.

Asked to comment on what farm workers who are being illegally evicted should do the Mashonaland East provincial administrator Mr Standrick Magunda said, "I can’t comment on that because I don’t know what is on the ground and circumstances leading to that." However, he said, there must be peaceful co-existence between those who are being resettled and the farmers and their workers.

Mr Magunda said if a farm has been set aside for resettlement the farmers should be allowed to wind up their activities while demarcation of the farm is going on. "They (farmers) should be able to wind up their activities. There should be no interference.

From what is said to be happening in Hwedza, somebody is interfering. I am sending a general advise to the DAs for peaceful co-existence and resettlement," he said.

The terror and misery of farm workers

Farm workers with their belongings strewn by the roadside as they ponder their next move after being forcibly evicted from their homes by so called war veterans.


this young boy, surrounded by family belongings, had to skip school to escape the terror of so called war veterans at the farm where his parents are employed.

Police, army, CIO to evict invaders on some designated farms

THE police, army and the Central Intelligence Organisation (CIO) will soon be moving into farms countrywide to remove war veterans and other land invaders on some of the designated farms, intelligence sources have revealed.

The Farmer was told this week that the ministry of Lands, Agriculture and Rural Resettlement wanted some people who were on some of these farms to move to make way for the model A2 resettlement scheme.

The model A1 was the "villagised" resettlement scheme, which Land, Agriculture and Rural Resettlement Minister, Dr Joseph Made’ said should be completed in a few days. Soldiers have been engaged to help in the demarcation of pieces of land in various farms to speed up the illegal process.

Soon after the completion of A1 model, it is expected that work would start on the resettlement scheme for the small-scale commercial farmers. However, the sources said, farms that have been targeted for this scheme have also been invaded and war veterans and other people who have resettled themselves are supposed to be moved.

The sources said that the operation to evict such people is scheduled to start as soon as the allowance funds and other logistical support services are in place. They said police vehicles are to be used in moving the people. It is understood that they have asked for $20 000 each as bush allowance for the operation over the proposed two week period.

The sources said members of the uniformed forces who wanted land would also be allocated under the model A2 scheme.

Efforts to get confirmation of this from the police or the ministry were unsuccessful at the time of to press.

Jailed farmers out at last

THE Chinhoyi farmers, initially refused bail by Chinhoyi magistrate, Mr Godfrey Gwaka, were finally released this week following a successful application to the High Court.

The 21 farmers who are facing charges of public violence were granted a $100 000 bail each by High Court judge, Justice Rita Makarau, bringing the total amount paid for bail to $2,1 million. The State is alleging that the farmers attacked illegal land occupiers at the home of Anthony Barkley at Liston Shields Farm near Chinhoyi.

Stringent bail conditions were imposed which included that all the farmers, except 72-year-old Mr Gert Pretorius, reside outside Mashonaland West Province for four weeks from the day bail was granted. The farmers could only visit Mashonaland West to attend court proceedings. Justice Makarau also ordered the farmers to provide the Registrar of High Court with their physical addresses.

They were also ordered to report to the nearest police station every Friday between 6am and 6pm. Justice Makarau instructed the farmers to surrender their travel documents and not to interfere with State witnesses.

Justice Makarau said the Chinhoyi magistrate did not make any mistake by denying farmers bail because the situation then was very volatile.

Although bail was granted on Monday morning, farmers were only released on Tuesday as the registrar of High court only issued the warrant of release after 4:30pm.

Zanu-PF supporters are said to have gathered at the Chinhoyi police station to demonstrate against the release of the farmers.

Upon their release, the farmers, including one Briton, were received by their families and friends in an emotion charged atmosphere, with some family members openly shedding tears.

Cattle ban disappointment

Staff Reporter

THE Harare Agricultural Show began today without one of its major attractions; the annual cattle show, because of the last-minute outbreak of the dreaded Foot and Mouth Disease. The outbreak, first detected at a Cold Storage Company’s feedlot in Bulawayo, has been attributed to lawlessness on the farms.

Mr Les Mallett, chairman of the cattle committee of the Zimbabwe Agricultural Society, confirmed that the society had been advised by the Department of Veterinary Services that there should be no livestock at the show this year in view of the outbreak.

"That is be position, but this is not the first time she show has had to go ahead without a cattle show," he said citing similar ban in 1989.

However, the ban this year, has come after a particularly difficult year in which commercial farmers have endured a relentless onslaught by so called war veterans and Zanu PF militants who went on rampage on commercial farms, slaughtering livestock at will, destroying paddock fences and causing disruptions to farming activities. Months of painstaking preparations and huge amounts of cash spent on special feeding programmes for show cattle have all come to nought with the ban on the cattle show.

In a statement in July, Mr Mallett said: "Despite the unlawful activities and the current economic situation, cattle exhibitors have once more rallied together and entries at this year’s show are about average."

At the time, at least 407 entries had been confirmed in the beef cattle category and 50 in the diary section with more entries anticipated. This was well over entries for the previous year when 263 animals were entered in the beef section and 68 under the diary category.

Elaborate arrangements for judging the various categories of entries had been made and two overseas judges, Mr Jeff Ziegler from the United States of America and Mr Jean-Marc Cazillac from France were slated to be in the line up.

Teenage girls abducted

FIVE teenage girls, daughters of farm workers, have gone missing from a farm in the Chakari area of Mashonaland west province.

According to a report made to the Commercial Farmer Union (CFU) in its situation and security update, the parents of the girls, allegedly abducted by so called war veterans illegally occupying the farm, were reluctant to report the incident to the police for fear of reprisals.

Other reports from the province indicate increasing incidents of corrupt officials demanding bribes from farmers who wish to have their properties de-listed. District administrators heading some of the lands committees were reportedly putting pressure on some farmers to sign over some of their land for resettlement.

In the Trilawney/Darwendale area, deliberate bush fires are being started on farms while disruptions to farming operations have continued unabated. In the Macheke/Virginia area, illegal occupiers told the owner of Camdale Estate that he was not to plant any crops next season and was to remove Rhodes Grass plantation which they claimed was interfering with their own cropping.

In Marondera, the owner of Malabar Farm was barricaded in his house overnight while his appeal for police assistance went unheeded.

In Norton, the Chegutu district administrator is reported to have encouraged farm occupiers to confiscate a farm owners’ tractor keys to prevent the farmer from using the equipment.

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From Business Day
Helpless, not hopeless in Zimbabwe

By Duncan Guy

A white game rancher visiting Johannesburg to see a new grandchild - leaving a prosperous farm occupied by "war veterans" - and a black hawker - in the city to sell curios to eke out a living - probably have more in common today than ever before in history.

Both are sons of the Zimbabwe province of Matabeleland. Both are beside themselves about their country's future but neither has given up in the situation that leaves them near helpless.

The hawker, who does not give his name for fear of reprisals back home, will make sure he's home to help vote President Robert Mugabe out of power in next year's presidential elections.
President Robert Mugabe
President Robert Mugabe

"We would like to advise him to go out," he says, almost politely.

Avoiding war

"We won't fight. War is a dangerous thing. It kills kids and causes hunger. We shall just use the vote."

He remembers two wars. The war for independence and the slaughtering of the Ndebele (also known as Matabele) by Mugabe's notorious Fifth Brigade during the post-independence dissident campaign.

"(The ruling) Zanu-PF and the Ndebele people will never understand each other," he says, noting that the opposition Movement for Democratic Change enjoys suport across tribal lines.

"But in Matabeleland we still remember the Fifth Brigade who were trained by the North Koreans."

The rancher, who also prefers to not be named, is convinced that the government is out to make a mess of the country and exploit the vote as a result. But he and his wife live from day to day between the mood swings of the "war vets" on their farm.
People claiming to be 'war vets' are behind land invasions
People claiming to be 'war vets' are behind land invasions

Drunken and drugged

He relays horror stories of drunken and drugged "war vets" becoming a law unto themselves on his farm, north of Bulawayo, since Easter last year.

He says they have scared away hunting clients using knobkerries, axes and pangas, chasing away workers, helping themselves to farm property and police are more interested in helping the "war vets" when threatened farmers call for help.

Recently the police falsely claimed he had "voluntarily handed over the farm", he says.

However he reacts almost with horror to the question: "Why even go back?"


"A colleague in a neighbouring district was attacked by 'war vets' and the cops did nothing. He was put in the local hospital where he was protected by other white farmers as well as workers and village people ... Doesn't that give you hope?," he asks.

Recalling his own recent experience in a Bulawayo clinic the day a picture of handcuffed Chinhoyi farmers were on the front page of a newspaper, he says his black compatriots, ranging from doctors to patients, were angry.

"A young doctor shouted - look what Zanu-PF are doing. Who does Zanu-PF think they are? The country belongs to all of us, not just them. That gives me hope too."

He adds: "It's a very small percentage of the population behind all this trouble. Do you believe 12-million people really believe in it?

His wife remarks: "When 'war vets' tried to occupy factories in Bulawayo it was the workers who chased them away. The people who work for us deserve our loyalty and support. This wickedness cannot survive forever".


"War vets" have wired up their gates to forbid them entry. Many of their 78 employees have been chased off the farm, some beaten, but a core few have stayed behind to look after a valuable ostrich investment.

"The governor of Matabeleland North, Obert Mpofu, said he had selected my ranch because it was income generating and handed it over to a local rural council as a gift," says the farmer.

He says Mpofu was voted out in the last election but that Mugabe had reinstated him as a Member of Parliament in one of the uncontested seats.

Hard living

Meanwhile on the pavement at Bruma where curios are sold, the hawker criticises the way "war vets" have occupied farms.

"Those people have just been dumped. They will not be able to survive on their little plots. It's all a campaign."

Asked his opinion of his white compatriots, the hawker says: "We need them. Yes, it was very racist in the Rhodesian times but we are friends now".

He feels the economic pinch badly.

"Sometimes immigration only gives me seven days to stay in South Africa and I don't make any money. In good months I have made R1,000. I exchange every rand for 27 Zim dollars."

The official exchange rate is one rand to Zim $8.5.

"There's also a lot of harassment at the border posts. Botswana is the worst. I don't know why they don't treat us as Africans. Maybe they hate our president so they transport those feelings down to the people ... He must be relieved his post."

Meanwhile the farmers find it impossible to reason with the "war vets" and their government and live from day to day, trying to continue farming between their occupiers' mood swings.

"The 'war vets' stopped a neighbour from irrigating his wheat.... We try to talk to them about food security. They say they don't want food security," says the farmer.

"They are employees of Zanu-PF and there to create havoc."

Farm twice offered to govt

The farming couple also say they invested their life savings into their farm 13 years ago when it was a derelict cattle ranch.

"It was offered to the government twice (as was the procedure for land resettlement before the lawlessness set in) and twice they said the did not want it."

The farmer further questions the viability of subsistence farming in Zimbabwe, "which appears to be the government's land reform programme".

"Subsistence farming is too poor. That's why people go off in search of jobs. Not only in Zimbabwe but also in South Africa."

Between a rock and a hard place

The curio hawker says coming "down south" is hardly a choice occupation.

"We don't like to come down to South Africa but we are forced to.

"May God help us."

Johnnic's online newsdesk

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From the ABC - (Australia)

CHOGM organisers reject calls to ban Zimbabwe's Mugabe

Organisers of the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in the Australian
city of Brisbane have rejected calls to ban Zimbabwean President Robert
Mugabe from the conference, claiming it's more important he attend.

Two Australian Coalition MP's want Mr Mugabe banned from CHOGM, claiming he
is a dangerous dictator guilty of human rights violations.

The Australian spokesman for CHOGM, Andrew Reynolds says many leaders would
like to hear Mr Mugabe's future plans for Zimbabwe.

He says it's also an opportunity to reason with Mr Mugabe.

They would like him to attend, the commonwealth has a teeth arm if you like
and it is called, CMAG, which is the commonwealth ministerial action group.
That action group has been trying to get into Zimbawe for some time now to
have a look at the situation on the ground and make recommendations to the
commonwealth about what it should do.
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Letter to the Times
Trump cards in Mugabe's hand
Sir, Your recent reports on Zimbabwe have provided cogent evidence of Mr Mugabe’s ruthless disregard both for the rule of law and for the desperate condition of the people, black and white. The issue is not just the troubles of a handful of so-called rich white farmers, though they too are Zimbabwe citizens who love their country, want to stay in it and are deeply concerned for the Africans who have long worked for and with them; it is the slow murder of a country.

It is being argued that the British cricket team should not go to Zimbabwe and that Mugabe himself should be excluded from the next Commonwealth meeting in Brisbane (report, August 14; Sports letters, August 21). But we should lose no opportunity to send people to Zimbabwe to see what is happening. It would be difficult to exclude the press from reporting on the cricket tour and, not least, it would give much comfort to the people.

As for the Commonwealth meeting, it would give Mugabe the utmost satisfaction to be excluded. Exclusion would make it difficult for the African members not to show solidarity with him, especially after the OAU support which President Gaddafi orchestrated. His presence in Brisbane would allow not only private pressure, but also visible recognition of what is happening. That is the least the Commonwealth owes to the brave people of Zimbabwe. Many are already pouring into neighbouring countries as refugees. More will flee from the famine now impending, and the whole of southern Africa will be destabilised.

It will be a disgrace if the Commonwealth, the UN and the EU between them cannot persuade the African countries to take real effective action with Mugabe, simply because the leader who is destroying his country is black. The greatest black leader of the last century, Nelson Mandela, did not hesitate to denounce Mugabe for the tyrant he is (leading article, May 17, 2000).

Yours etc,
House of Lords.
August 30.

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Farm Invasions and Security Report
Thursday 30th August 2001

This report does not purport to cover all the incidents that are taking place in the commercial farming areas. Communication problems and the fear of reprisals prevent farmers from reporting all that happens. Farmers names, and in some cases farm names, are omitted to minimise the risk of reprisals.
Mashonaland Central
Bindura - The owner of Amanda Farm had his tobacco seed beds trashed by illegal occupiers who left 6 seed beds undamaged "for their own use".  Illegal occupiers then stole irrigation fittings to prevent continuance of farming.  The incident was reported to police but no arrests were made.
Mvurwi - Illegal occupiers started planting gardens in cattle paddocks on Msoneddi Estates and when the owner advised them the farm had been delisted and it was probable his cattle would damage the unprotected gardens, an altercation followed.  The owner was pursued by about 20 illegal occupiers who attacked him with sticks.  The owner took refuge in his home and barricaded himself and elderly wife inside.  Singing and protracted shouting of ZANU PF slogans commenced and other illegal occupiers joined in, numbering about 50 who gathered outside the homestead security fence.  The owner called police for assistance who indicated they had no transport available.  Farm security produced transport for a police detail to visit the scene.  Minor injuries were sustained, and assault charges have been laid against illegal occupiers.  Some farm workers were also assaulted by illegal occupiers.  The situation is calm pending police investigations.
Shamva - About 100 illegal gold panners continue panning on The Carse Estate.  Numerous holes are being dug to depths of 2 metres, causing a serious danger to children and livestock, if the holes were to fill with water.  Sanitary facilities are a health hazard. Police refuse to react and as well as the local government authorities. 
Glendale / Bindura / Centenary /Horseshoe - There has been increased activity in pegging by agritex teams and others who are usually accompanied by police details.  Cutting of trees for hut building has accelerated, as well as brick making.  DDF drilling teams are active in the Region.  NSSA inspectors are calling on commercial farmers and demanding to see NSSA payments records.  Police and CIO also inspecting maize stocks and threatening prosecution for failure to register with GMB.
Mashonaland West North 
Raffingora - An increase of veld fires has caused a great loss of grazing in the area.  Farm workers are being intimidated by illegal occupiers and threatened if they do not attend education pungwes or for not having ZANU PF membership cards. Pegging, tree cutting for firewood and building of huts continues. Work stoppages have occurred on some farms in the Hunyani district, with an increase in movement of illegal occupiers cattle and donkeys through the area. A group of 18 poachers and 22 dogs have been seen poaching regularly, with several wart hogs and pigs being killed on a weekly basis. Illegal occupiers are visiting farms over weekends to build their huts. Fighting is occurring between Illegal occupiers over thatching grass which has now become scarce. In the Victory Block North, several farms have incurred work stoppages. Conflict between groups of illegal occupiers from Guruwe and Murambedzi / Zvimba continues. Government officials from the DA's office visited 4 farms in the Raffingora Central region and politely asked farm owners if they could put in boundary pegs for the A2 commercial farm resettlement scheme.
Doma - Work stoppages have occurred on 24 farms in the district, with most of the grazing being burnt out, and 3 farms being classified as a "no go area". There is only 1 farmer who has been allowed to ridge tobacco. Maska, who is operating from Doma Clinic is demanding that farm owners back pay their workers $15000 from January 2001, if they wish to continue farming operations. Maska has placed illegal occupiers on numerous farms to enforce work stoppages. Police refuse to react.
Banket - Government valuators visited Between Rivers Farm, when the owner was not there and left. Whilst the owner of Preston Farm was on leave, agritex officials pegged the farm. Illegal occupiers stopped tractors from working and only after the owner agreed to harrow land for illegal occupiers, were the tractors allowed to continue work again.
Nyabira - A farm owner in the district has been allowed some land on his farm, whilst the rest has been pegged. There has been an influx of illegal occupiers to claim their plots.
Tengwe - Farm workers were chased of Kapena Farm by illegal occupiers. Work stoppages have occurred on 5 farms, and there are numerous veld fires throughout the district.
Umboe - The owner of Nytande Farm was told by illegal occupiers to vacate the farm. A potato crop had previously been planted before illegal occupiers pegged, and illegal occupiers are now claiming the crop belongs to them.
Ayrshire - Kaduna Farm which is an unlisted farm, was pegged and fast tracked, and hut building has commenced.
Mutorashanga - Windsor Farm which is not listed, was fast tracked and pegged and the owner has been prevented from putting a crop in the ground.
Trelawney / Darwendale - Work stoppages occurred on Clydesdale Farm and Okoromukwa Farm. Illegal occupiers who are permanently employed by Mr Redmile have stopped ridging from taking place on Glen Esk.  Generally, there are a lot of work stoppages in the area and illegal occupier demands for the owner to plough, plant and cure tobacco for them.
Mashonaland West South   
Norton - On 2 farms, Air Force personnel and Norton Police in uniform, arrived fully armed, in a military truck and assaulted 3 people on 1 farm, and gave the 6 foremen on the other farm sjamboks and sticks and ordered them to beat each other up, and threatened the foreman that they would be killed if work continued on the farm. On Fort Martin Farm the situation has become untenable. Illegal occupiers have stolen seed bed pipes, sabotaged hydrants and stopped tractors from working. The owner, who was Tobacco Grower of The Year, last year, is having to stop production and lay off his work force.  
Selous - Road blocks have been set up by illegal occupiers on Paarl Farm who also ordered that the owner remove cattle off the farm, and stopped tractors from working. The owner of Wicklow Estates received a letter informing him that he must take all his cattle off the property, with which he won the Cattleman of The Year competition. He was also told that if he drove around his farm it would be considered an act of war and he would to take the consequences. The author of the letter has not been arrested. About 13 communal cattle and goats have been moved on to the farm and the veterinary department appear powerless to assist. A further 12 aluminium irrigation pipes were stolen from Mount Carmel. A lorry with "Desert Hawk" written on the side arrived and took children from the farm village to a "free camp" in Chiweshe in Mashonaland Central. It has not been fully established as to what this camp involves. 
Suri-Suri / Gadzema - The owner of Ijapo was confronted by a large group of illegal occupiers armed with axes whilst he was removing some of his property from the farm. As a result of continued pressure through the illegal occupiers and the DA's office, the owner has had to stop all operations and lay his work force off. On Pax Farm illegal occupiers have prevented the owner from ridging. The DA told the owner that he cannot continue with his irrigated Tobacco crop. The manager of San Fernando has been told in writing again, to vacate the homestead and gates are continually being wired up to prevent the manager from moving around the farm. 
Chakari - DDF officials continue to plough on Rondor Farm. 
Chegutu - Illegal occupiers who are occupying an irrigated land on Just Right, threatened to kill the mining commissioner who wished to move them out. 
Kadoma - The DA continues to evade the question as to whether farmers are allowed to plant under the current warlord legal regime.  
Battlefields - On Umsewswe River Block 8A and 10A illegal occupiers, in the presence of the police, broke in to the security fence and pulled the owner around by his hair. The situation was only brought under control as a result of high level diplomatic negotiation, which was possible due to there being two European hunting clients in the house. The owner had to leave his farm. About 3 busloads and 4 lorry loads of illegal occupiers have been moved on to the farm. Agritex officials are pegging the farm. The situation was triggered as a result of personnel from the military, police and the DA's office being refused permission to peg the farm, as it had not gone through the processes of law, and the owner stood to lose his whole livelihood if they did.
Mashonaland East  
Beatrice - 5 000 eucalyptus trees were burnt on New Retreat farm. Illegal occupiers have prevented ploughing on Maas Plein, Alamaein and Nebo. Agritex officials are pegging on an unlisted farm. Theft of irrigation pipes is rife in the area.
Bromley / Ruwa / Enterprise - There have been some work stoppages on farms in the area and theft of irrigation pipes continues.
Harare South - The DA Seke visited Auks Nest farm and told the owner that they must co - exist with illegal occupiers and stop farm operations. The DA also visited Elladale and told the owner that tobacco grading, crocodiles and ostriches operations may continue. The owner was also allowed to continue with seed beds but was told that they would have to be sold to someone else as they would not be planted on the farm. About 10 illegal occupiers stopped ridging on Rusimbiro.  3 DDF tractors are ploughing on Gilston, and 1 tractor on Walmer.  A police vehicle with PGHQ printed on the side was seen on Garth farm, and the plain clothed occupants seen collecting firewood. The owner asked them to stop, and was told to leave. The owner then collected a video camera and started filming them. On realising this, the occupants quickly left.
Marondera - A sustained pressure directed at farm workers in the upper Wenimbe valley continues. Farm workers on all farms in the area are being forced to attend all night pungwes. Tractors and trailers are being commandeered to transport farm workers to the pungwe venues. Work on farms has almost come to a standstill with exhausted farm workers returning home from these meetings as late as 3 am. Until last week pressure was directed mainly against farms on the eastern side of the district, but illegal occupiers Wilfred Marimo, Shasha, Zenenga, Prince and others are shifting the pressure westwards, particularly centring on Arcadia where pungwes have been held night after night this week, and the roads into the 3 homesteads were blocked with logs.  A number of assaults have occurred. Under the current situation, only 1 farm in the neighbourhood has a fair chance to plant tobacco. Vehicles arrived on Monora farm from Marondera. 3 farm workers homes have been taken over by illegal occupier Majuru. Illegal occupiers threatened to beat farm workers in an attempt to take over the rest of the farm village.
Marondera North - A farm in the district has a total work stoppage.
Wedza - The main line irrigation piping was stolen from Rapako and Una. A long winded faction fight between illegal occupiers Gibson and Chiphiri has resulted in 2 farm workers being shot.  1 sustained a hip wound and the other a gut wound. As a result, 60 people, mainly farm workers have been arrested for inciting violence and are to appear in court today. Amongst the 60 arrested is illegal occupier Gibson. There is a lot of burning in the area and threats from illegal occupiers to move cattle.
Chipinge - Illegal occupiers pushed 29 head of cattle onto Lot 2 of Houtberg from Mount Farm, the reason being, the owner was not co-operating.  
Illegal occupiers are pegging in 2 year old and 5 year old coffee tree plantations on Die Rust, resulting in a transmission of disease.  Illegal occupiers  commenced pegging in part of Royal Crest coffee lands which have been fully fertilised and irrigated.  Stilmeer  and Kenilworth has been pegged.  
Rusape - On Rocking Stone, illegal occupiers badly assaulted 3 farm workers in the village.  2 illegal occupiers were arrested as a result.  Illegal occupiers told farm workers on Zimati that they were returning later to sort out the foreman.  The owner called the police and illegal occupiers never returned. 
General - Intimidation of game scouts and farm workers continue. There is an alarming increase of veld fires in the area, and illegal occupiers are causing malicious damage to the environment.
Masvingo East & Central - 3 separate road blocks were set up on Chidza Farm and farm gates broken down. Placards were erected informing the owner that it was a "no go area" and to go back to Britain. The following day, about 30 illegal occupiers blocked the Chidza Bridge. A further 3 roadblocks were then set up. Illegal occupiers proceeded to set fire to the whole property. The owner is now faced with serious lack of grazing and had to slaughter 50% of his cattle, including pedigree cattle. Police responded but made no arrests. The owner of Felixburg Farm was instructed by illegal occupiers to remove all cattle off the farm. Despite intervention by the P.A on 4 occasions, illegal occupiers are still making their presence known by occupying the main entrance on Southwill Estates. Farm workers remain unable to work. The owner and Farm manager have still not been able to return to the farm and illegal occupiers are demanding an audience with the Provincial Governor. Illegal occupiers demanded that the owner of Lamotte Farm start packing his bags and move off immediately, and that the tractor now belonged to them. 11 illegal occupiers arrived on Lothian Farm and proceeded to beat up 4 people on the farm and confiscated the gate keys. There is conflict between a group of illegal occupiers supporting Minister Mahofa and a person known as Masera. Masera is occupying a plot within the owner’s vegetable garden.  Veld fires started by illegal occupiers are occurring on Wondeza Farm as well as general harassment, in an attempt to make the owner move cattle off the farm. Illegal occupier Muzenda, is causing vast destruction of trees and bushes in front of the owner's homestead on Heathcoat farm. Police responded and when Muzenda informed them the plot had been allocated, police left. A dead cow was found in a snare on Wepener Farm. Fires are continuously being lit by illegal occupiers. 
Gutu / Chatsworth - Previously discharged farm workers on Smilingvale Farm are demanding gratuities of about $50 000 for 5 years employment, resulting in a general strike on the farm for the last 3 days. 
Mwenezi - Illegal occupiers on Merrivale Farm tried to round up all the owner's cattle and force them into the owner's homestead garden. The cattle were then pushed into a small pen for the night, which they broke out of and scattered into the game section. Illegal occupiers are trying to force the owner to remove all cattle as when the planting of crops commences, cattle would interfere with their crops. Police were slow to react. A similar incident occurred on Rutenga Ranch to that of Merrivale Farm. Illegal occupiers are erecting structures in prepared lands on La Pache Farm. The owner of Solomondale has lost 20 000 acres of grazing due to a fire started by illegal occupiers. The owner is now faced with serious grazing problems. 3 paddocks have been burnt out by illegal occupiers on Lizuma Ranch and 13 head of cattle snared. 4 head of cattle remain unaccounted for. An Eland was killed and slaughtered. Illegal occupiers are taking water before it reaches the owner's cattle, and cattle from a neighbouring farm are now moving onto the farm in search of water. 
Chiredzi - Illegal occupier Dube harassed the owner of Wasara Ranch whilst he was preparing to make fire breaks, and forced the owner to stop. Dube threatened the owner that they would burn the farm and any vehicle that reacted to put out the fires. In police presence, 4 illegal occupiers proceeded to set the farm alight, causing a substantial loss in grazing. Police managed to stop the fire from becoming out of control, to which an illegal occupier confiscated a cane knife from a farm worker and proceeded to abuse the owner. No arrests were made. Illegal occupiers continue to light fires on Crown Ranch and Buffalo Range.
General - Fires, poaching, snaring, pegging and ploughing by DDF tractors continue on farms throughout the Region.  Fast Track resettlement is ongoing.
West Nicholson - Illegal occupiers demanded in writing, a profit share in the hunting / safari operations on Chipisi. There have been 22 giraffes casualties due to poachers shooting and snaring, 18 of which were killed in wire snares. River Block was conceded to Government in August, valuations done and vacation notices served. The land was pegged and 35 families settled. To date, no compensation has been paid, or discussed, and all illegal occupiers have since vacated the farm. A work stoppage occurred on Atherstone Ranch.
Zvishavane - On Major Ranching Operation, pegging continues on a large scale with plot allocations given mainly to town residents and mine employees. About 300 illegal occupiers moved onto Zeederberg Ranch without agritex, the Governor or DA's approval. Poaching is rampant and stock theft figures show some 200 head of cattle stolen since February last year. Illegal occupiers threatened to beat up and throw the ranch manager's father and ranch foreman into the cattle dip.
Gwanda - Prison Services from Gwanda town are collecting firewood on Judds farm, for themselves. Illegal occupiers interfered in a labour dispute on Cleveland Farm and ordered the owner to close the furniture factory and vacate the farm as they were coming to occupy it - the local Member of Parliament , Mr Ncube, being the main instigator.
Nyamandlovu - On several occasions illegal occupiers have prevented the owner of Mat Concession from making firebreaks. Police refuse to react.
Bulalimamangwe - The owner of Prescott's Farm intercepted 6 poachers. The poachers had a kudu on the vehicle, and were hunting on a falsified permit issued by Liswe Tshuma, the CAMPFIRE Manager of Bulalimamangwe Rural District Council. Poachers fired a weapon near the safari camp frightening 4 American hunting clients.

  • Humanitarian disaster as workers evicted - UK Ind
  • SA youths clash over Mugabe - News24
  • Citizenship law sparks outrage - Zim Ind
  • Playing with fire - BBC
  • Chissano, Muluzi snub Mugabe - Zim Ind

From The Independent (UK), 1 September

Disaster feared as black farm workers are forced to flee

Harare - Zimbabwe is facing a humanitarian disaster following the eviction of tens of thousands of black farm workers by government-backed militias, it was claimed on Friday. The Commercial Farmers' Union (CFU), which represents mainly white farmers, estimates that 70,000 black farm workers have been thrown out of their homes on white farms. "The numbers have been rising since last year. It's a really big disaster," said one union official. Government supporters accuse the black farm workers of emulating their white employers in supporting the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC). The situation has become acute in Mashonaland Central Province, where an estimated 30,000 black farm workers were this week driven off the farms.

The latest warning came as details emerged of a particularly brutal assault on a 72-year-old white farmer, his wife, aged 66, and their six black farm workers in a fresh wave of violence. Wessel Weller, a Dutch national, and his wife, Lockie were assaulted by the ruling party supporters occupying his farm in Mvurwi, 60 kilometers north of the capital Harare, on Wednesday night. Mr Weller said that his ordeal started when he tried to stop war veterans who have occupied his property from pegging vegetable gardens in his cattle paddocks.

"I calmly urged about five war veterans to stop digging in the paddocks but to my surprise they reported to their colleagues that I had assaulted them," said Weller. He said a group of 50, wielding axes, stones and hatchets burst into his house and assaulted him and his wife. His workers were also assaulted, two seriously. Mr Weller said he had sustained deep cuts on the hands, legs and back. He said his wife, who was trying to shield him from sticks directed at him, had also suffered wounds all over her body. "I can't believe that we are still alive in view of what happened ... we are recovering well," he said.

Last night Mr Weller, a Dutch national, returned to the farm which is still occupied by the war veterans: "We will just hang on ... we are an old couple and cannot think of starting a new life elsewhere all over again." He said he had been held hostage for seven hours after the beatings and was barred from seeking treatment. A black worker at the farm said his six colleagues had been beaten for "behaving as if they were children of whites". Violence has raged on Zimbabwe's commercial farms since last year and the mainly white CFU has unsuccessfully urged President Robert Mugabe to issue a statement condemning the violence. Mugabe argues that the land occupiers are merely reclaiming their land. Nine white farmers have died in the farm violence. The Human Rights Forum, a coalition of 10 groups including Amnesty International, believes that in July 11 people died in politically motivated murders in Zimbabwe, while 61 disappeared and 288 were tortured.

From News24 (SA), 31 August

SA youths clash over Mugabe

Durban - A fight almost broke out at an international meeting of landless people against racism at the World Conference Against Racism in Durban (WCAR) on Thursday when a youth made statements about Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe. Sipho Sithole, a member of the African National Congress Youth League (ANCYL) in Mpumalanga, tore a piece of paper, wrote in bold that "Mugabe is an idiot", and pasted the paper on his back. A Johannesburg member of the Socialist Party of Azania (Sopa) saw the writing, got angry and attacked Sithole. People who were at the scene had to separate the two.

Sithole however, failed to give the matter up. He replaced the piece of paper with another which had an inscription: "Mugabe is an old lion who failed to hunt, so he wants to use others to hunt for him." "It is clear that Mugabe has failed to govern Zimbabwe. Now he is using the people by getting them to invade the land so that he can keep his position as the president," Sithole told Sapa after the brawl. "According to our understanding, he does not have any plans on how to govern Zimbabwe anyway and now the only way that he could use his position is to convince the people to invade the land. We really don't agree with him, we don't support him at all as South Africans."

His colleague, Nqobizizwe Mbokane, who is also an ANCYL member in the same province, said Mugabe was declaring war on his people by letting them invade white-owned farmers and tormenting black farmworkers. "Mugabe has ruled his country for many years. He is tired," Mbokane said. He said land was a top priority in Africa and Mugabe knew that very well. "People of Zimbabwe are still landless and unemployed and he wants to remain in power. We are not saying that we don't want land, but he must follow the procedure," he said.

Kenny Komeng, a Sopa member from Johannesburg, said he supported Mugabe and Sithole's sentiments created a wrong impression to thousands of delegates in Durban for the WCAR. About 3 000 landless people are camping at the Berea Rovers Club in the city to attend the conference. They are sheltered in seven tents and have 11 temporary toilets and they are without water. "Here, we are landless people and we expect everybody who is here to fight for land. I support Mugabe in Zimbabwe, big time," Komeng said. The meeting which he attended adopted a Landless People's Charter which declared in part that all unused land in South Africa should be redistributed to landless people, including women.

"We need our land for grazing, farming, economic opportunities and community facilities. We say also that people who have been evicted from their land ... should be given top priority for land reform," the document said. The document added that all laws not favouring landless people should be scrapped. "These demands we will fight for, side by side, through our lives until we have won our land. Agriculture and Land Minister Thoko Didiza made a brief appearance at the meeting while Pan Africanist Congress deputy president Motsoko Pheko sat until proceedings ended at 18:00.

From The Zimbabwe Independent, 31 August

Citizenship law sparks outrage

The Zimbabwean government’s decision to force all dual nationals to renounce their foreign citizenship in January next year has created administrative problems for embassies and could create tension between Harare and the region. The legislation, which came into effect on July 6, requires all dual nationals to renounce their foreign citizenship by January 7 2002 if they wish to retain Zimbabwe citizenship. Those who miss the January 7 deadline will automatically lose their citizenship and might be forced to leave the country. The restoration of citizenship will cost $25 000 and one-and-a-half years to process.

Diplomats from the region have held meetings with Registrar General Tobaiwa Mudede and have raised complaints about the inconvenience. "He simply told us that we had to put in place mechanisms that ensure that all the affected people renounce before the deadline. It appears as if there is no going back on the decision," said one diplomat. The legislation, widely viewed as having been targeted at whites, has now produced headaches for foreign missions, which now have to grapple with large numbers of people wanting to renounce.

Problems have however arisen, as most foreign missions stationed here do not have the capacity to process the citizenship renunciation by the set deadline. Worse still people domiciled here who would be affected by the new legislation are not aware of the sad predicament faces them come January 7. Most of them have learnt of the new regulations when trying to renew passports at the Registrar General’s Office. Officers at the passport office are refusing to renew passports unless certificates of renunciation are produced. Children of Malawian, Zambian and Mozambican migrant workers born and have lived here all their lives and have voted in past elections, are being asked to renounce their entitlement to foreign citizenship.

Foreign missions which spoke to the Zimbabwe Independent this week, said the legislation was pernicious as people with Zimbabwean identity cards and passports but whose parents or grandparents were not born here were being asked to apply for renunciation. Zambia’s deputy High Commissioner to Zimbabwe Ben Shawa said his office was receiving an average of 500 applications every week since the new legislation came into being. He said some of the people who were being asked to renounce their Zambian citizenship had already done so. He said under the current circumstances, it was not possible for Zambia to issue renunciation certificates before the January deadline.

"What happens is that we send the applications to the Ministry of Home Affairs in Zambia and a citizenship board which meets quarterly then looks at the applications before making a decision. So you can see that if someone applies today, the application will only be looked at in October or November," he said. He said they had applied to the Zambian government for special powers to issue certificates of renunciation from Harare and by-pass the board. "We have not yet received a reply on that and we do not actually know whether our applications will be accepted or not. It might even need to go to cabinet (in Zambia) before we get a reply."

Diplomatic sources this week said foreign missions of Mozambique, Malawi, South Africa and India were in a similar predicament. The South African High Commission in a statement last night said it took three to four months to renounce foreign citizenship in the country. The Independent understands that staff at the RG’s office are accepting receipts of application as proof of renunciation but this is a loose application of the law. The law clearly states that dual nationals will cease to be citizens of Zimbabwe unless they "effectively renounce" their foreign citizenship. In the past, a number of British nationals applied for renunciation at their High Commission here and took their receipts to the RG’s office where these were accepted as proof of renunciation. This, diplomatic sources said, had now stopped. It takes up to six months for the British Home Office to issue certificates of renunciation and those applying now might miss the January 7 deadline.

At least 20 000 British nationals will be affected by the legislation which analysts said was fashioned as a political gimmick. "The idea is to prevent whites from voting as Zimbabweans in elections and then claiming British or American nationality when they want to be evacuated from the country," said one analyst. He said President Mugabe could exploit the situation likely to obtain in January to garner support from regional leaders for his policies and to wrest concessions from the British government using the human mass as wagers.

From BBC News, 1 September

Zimbabwe singer plays with fire

A Zimbabwean musician is having trouble marketing his latest song, which is provocatively titled The President is a Thief. Bekithemba Khumalo says he was not referring to President Robert Mugabe personally, but to his government. In the current climate of political violence, most music producers initially refused to record Khumalo's album - called Taking him Away - which features the song. Several songs by leading Zimbabwean musicians have been banned from the state media for being deemed critical of the government. One producer did relent and secretly recorded The President is a Thief, but now shops in Khumalo's home town of Bulawayo are refusing to sell the cassette.

A month ago, government spin doctors hit back by producing an album of songs praising Mr Mugabe and his controversial programme of land reform. When Khumalo spoke to the BBC's Network Africa, he did not seem unduly worried about the prospect of being visited by either the security forces or militants from Mr Mugabe's Zanu PF party. "They can think of arresting me but then it's a way of expressing myself. It's my democratic right to say whatever I feel," he said. Faced with the difficulties of selling his album, Khumalo says he is going to try to sell it abroad because, "everyone should know what is happening here". However he says that the album Taking him Away has social songs as well as those with a political message. Khumalo says he chose the album title because "whether you're dying from Aids or being voted out of office, it's all the same."

Last December, a lighting engineer was arrested for shining spotlights on a portrait of Mr Mugabe while Oliver Mtukudzi was singing his song Wasakara. "Wasakara" has become the unofficial anthem of the opposition because it says that old men should know when to step down. Mr Mugabe, 76, has governed Zimbabwe since independence in 1980. Mtukudzi says, however, that his song was not written with any political connotations and he is surprised by the uproar it has caused. Thomas Mapfumo, who championed the 1970s liberation struggle which brought Mr Mugabe to power, has seen his more recent songs banned from the air-waves for referring to corruption and "disaster".

From The Zimbabwe Independent, 31 August

Chissano, Muluzi snub Mugabe

President Robert Mugabe’s attempts to induce Mozambique and Malawi to adopt a hardline stance on Britain and the country’s commercial farmers flopped at the land crisis meeting held in Beira this week, the Zimbabwe Independent has gathered. Diplomatic sources told the Independent that Mugabe implored presidents Joachim Chissano of Mozambique and Malawi’s Bakili Muluzi to sing the same refrain as Harare and support the government’s haphazard land reform exercise. The three regional leaders form part of the troika that runs the SADC organ on politics, defence and security. The organ is headed by Chissano, while Muluzi is the SADC chairman.

The meeting was held at the behest of Muluzi, who wanted to get more briefing on the country’s land debacle. Commercial farmers are crossing the border into Mozambique in droves to start farming operations there, joining hordes of South Africans who have taken up farming offers since 1996. Mugabe has not been amused that the farmers have been welcomed at Zimbabwe’s expense. Mugabe, the Independent understands, wanted Mozambique to stop them from farming in Mozambique, but Chissano insisted that they were welcome. The majority of the farmers are fleeing the on-going violence in the country’s commercial farms that have so far cost the lives of four farmers and led to looting of their properties earlier this month.

After the meeting, Muluzi was reported to have said he had been "well briefed" by Mugabe on the land issue before leaving Mugabe and Chissano to sign a Beira Corridor memorandum of understanding that seeks to consolidate trade between the two countries. Diplomatic sources said Mugabe was reined-in and advised to implement land reform along internationally-acceptable standards and with respect to the rule of law. Mugabe is generally regarded as a regional bully from the days of the Frontline States, dictating terms to heads of state and using the Organ on Defence and Politics to dictate his personal interests. Muluzi and Chissano are understood to have told Mugabe to listen to the concerns of other regional leaders. Upon arrival in Malawi after the Beira meeting, Muluzi was quoted by Reuters as saying: "The spill over of that situation (Zimbabwe land crisis) can be devastating to our economies." Muluzi said there would be a meeting of six regional leaders in the country to deliberate on the Zimbabwe crisis.

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: Saturday, September 01, 2001 11:35 AM
Subject: Blood money

Dear family and friends,
Apologies for many letters unanswered this last week. Moments after my computer was fixed,a spider bite totally wiped me out for four days so I have battled to keep up. Thank you though for writing and for the continued support and encouragement. The situation in Zimbabwe this week has become increasingly tense all around the country,not just on farms but in villages and small centres too. This will be a long letter today but I urge you to read it. If you care for people, for animals, for the environment - whatever your passion I hope that you will read of this mindless destruction. Our government has declared war on her own people, whites, blacks,men and women - everyone has become a victim, everyone is suffering and it defies both belief and understanding.
Foot and Mouth has spread to Beitbridge and there are now a total of 10 infected properties. Despite repeated appeals by veterinary officials and attempts to control the movement of livestock, this explosive and highly contagious disease means nothing to the people calling themselves "war veterans". I report now on an incident from an eye witness on a farm outside Bulawayo. "War veterans" moved cattle from a village onto a cattle ranch and instructed the farmer to remove his 1000 head as this was now their farm. When the owner refused, the "war veterans" herded the farmers cattle out onto the road, demanding the animals be taken away. Aside from the logistics of moving 1000 cattle, the owner said there were veterinary controls preventing livestock movement. He was told by "war veterans" that none of those "stupid factors" concerned them, they were only interested in what was "happening on the ground" and this was now their farm. This is one incident of dozens around the country and with this mentality the disease will spread and ravage our country which teeters on starvation already. It will not only destroy the beef industry, it will wipe out beasts which rural subsistence peasants depend on for milk, to till their fields and to feed their families. Meanwhile various ridiculous statements have been made by government officials blaming whites for deliberating starting the disease by forcibly herding buffalo into cattle farms in order to destroy the country. God help us.
On another farm near Bulawayo a "war veteran" arrived in red jaguar and informed the owner that he was taking over the farm and that all workers and equipment should be removed by the weekend or he would burn them out. On a safari property "war veterans" arrive at the weekends in luxury 4 wheel drive vehicles and shoot sable; on a huge ostrich farm the owner and his workers have been evicted, the birds are dying of neglect and there is absolutely nothing that can be done, the police will not attend because "it is political". On another property 22 giraffe have died in snares.
On a farm in Norton a military truck arrived with armed, uniformed men. They openly assaulted workers with whips and sticks and when they got tired, forced the formen of the farm to continue the beatings. Last year's Tobacco Grower of the year has had his tobacco seed bed pipes destroyed, hydrants sabotaged and been ordered to stop his tractors. This man, Zimbabwe's best grower has been forced to stop production and had to lay off his workers. On a farm in Selous last year's Cattleman of the Year has been ordered to remove all his cattle from his farm. "War veterans" have moved rural cattle and goats into his fields. On farms in Marondera, Wedza and Raffingora farm workers are being rounded up after dark and being forced to attend political re-education meetings. Meetings where they have to sing, chant, march, shout slogans and denounce opposition political parties. Sometimes these events go on until 3 am and these men and women then have to attempt to undertake their farm duties in order to survive. Farm workers evicted from their homes in Hwedza remain in hiding in the bush. They are absoloutely destitute, some report having had nothing to eat for 3 days. Desperate attempts to get these people moved to central "refugee camps" are continuing but are wrapped in red tape. The policy of fear and intimidation has worked. Displaced people have been warned by "war veterans" to "stay out of sight" or else... . Official estimates are that as many as 70 000 farmers, workers and their dependants have been evicted from their homes in the past fortnight.
Villagers and families in Epworth, Mount Darwin and Muzarabanhi have been evicted from their rural homes, accused of being supporters of opposition political parties. They have lost their grain, their goats and chickens, their clothes and belongings, they have had their homes burned to the ground. They have been beaten, kicked and whipped and warned not to speak out or else... . Earlier this week two young men sat in a Zimbabwean prison accused of political violence. One was an epileptic but his gaolers refused to allow him access to his medication. His friend in the same cell begged the guards for help, his friend was having fits every five minutes. The guards said "monitor him, we will see in the morning." The fits came closer and closer together until they were happening every two minutes and then the man died, watched by his friend.  Still the guards did not come and the man lay next to the corpse of his friend until the next morning.
While these most gross human rights abuses are occuring all over Zimbabwe to every person of every colour, there is nothing we can do. There are no feeding centres where we can deliver bread or milk or vegetables; there are not vast tented cities where people can go to for help, there is nothing we can do to help men, women and children who have lost everything, who have not eaten for days,who are hiding in the bush. Our government has not appealed for humanitarian aid, they have not acknowledged this vast human catastrophe, they have declared war on us. This week details have been exposed of a deal recently brokered between the governments of Zimbabwe and the Congo. A deal in which 33 million hectares of indigenous trees will be felled in one of Africa's biggest rain forests in the Congo. In an area one and a half times the size of the UK, trees will be felled and sold in Asia and France. Zimbabwe will share the profits as compensation for  participation in the war in the DRC. The environment will be destroyed to compensate our dead Zimbabwean soldiers. The relatives of these dead youngsters will not see a single dollar of this blood money.God help us.
This coming week a meeting will be held in Nigeria where top leaders will gather to discuss the crisis in Zimbabwe. If you have a way of getting the information in this letter to the men attending that meeting, I urge you to do so. If you have a way of making a VIP in your country understand that the Zimbabwe crisis is not about race or land but about politics, I urge you to do so. In the foreword to my book African Tears, Trevor Ncube says: " ...across the country there is a palpable mood of resistance and a confident anticipation of liberation..." It is 6 months since Trevor wrote those words and the mood is waning,  confidence is shaken, terror has overtaken us. There is a vast humanitarian crisis unfolding in Zimbabwe, a crisis we can do nothing about because our government does not acknowledge it.
Every week I look for words of hope to end with. When Govan Mbeki died on Thursday this week, his life was highlighted, his past revisited. At one time an interviewer had asked this man who spent most of his adult life in gaol what gave him the courage to continue with the struggle for an end to apartheid. "We never gave up hope" he said, "tyrants have come and tyrants have gone. That is the rule of history."
Until next week, still wearing my yellow ribbon in solidarity with all who are suffering, cathy.
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Betsy Pisik


DURBAN, South Africa -- Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat
helped open the U.N. World Conference Against Racism
yesterday with an attack on Israel for "racial
discrimination" and "ethnic cleansing," as Mideast
grievances dominated the first sessions of the huge,
contentious gathering.

Speaking on the first day of the eight-day conference, the
chairman of the Palestinian Authority received a respectful
reception from the delegates, spoke on a panel discussion
for presidents and prime ministers, and joined in a group
photo for those of senior minister rank and above.

Israeli "brutality and arrogance are moved by a mentality of
superiority that practices racism and racial discrimination,
that adopts ethnic cleansing," Mr. Arafat charged,
addressing an audience that included Cuban leader Fidel
Castro and Congo President Joseph Kabila.

With Secretary of State Colin L. Powell and his top deputies
staying home, the United States has sent a delegation of 49
lower-level diplomats here to try to keep anti-Israeli
language out of the official conference documents.

Signaling its displeasure with the direction the conference
was heading, Washington put a junior official -- John
Blaney, charge d'affaires in the U.S. Embassy in Pretoria --
in its lead delegate's seat for the opening speeches, with
instructions not to speak.

Canada, Israel and a number of European countries also have
sent lower-level delegations to register their unhappiness
with the conference.

Mr. Arafat's harsh remarks came despite efforts by U.N.
Secretary-General Kofi Annan and High Commissioner for Human
Rights Mary Robinson to tone down the rhetoric.

 His comments came after the Rev. Jesse Jackson, in this
South African coastal city as a private observer, announced
that he had reached an understanding with Palestinian
officials to drop language equating Zionism with racism --
the heart of the U.S. and Israeli complaint about the

Palestinian officials accused Mr. Jackson of being
"overzealous" yesterday, saying Mr. Arafat is still pressing
for a conference resolution condemning Israel. Several Arab
nations back a resolution equating Israel's treatment of the
Palestinians with the treatment of blacks under apartheid in
South Africa.

"Palestine is suffering abhorrent racism, severe hatred and
colonialism," Mr. Arafat said yesterday. "I want this
conference to say what is right."

Mr. Arafat made his remarks despite diplomatic signals that
the Palestinian leader and Israeli Foreign Minister Shimon
Peres may meet next week to try to tone down months of
fighting on the West Bank and Gaza Strip. The Italian
government is trying to set up the meeting.

 Hours earlier, Mr. Annan had told diplomats that singling
out one group as racist makes it a potential target for
retaliation and persecution in its turn.

"The Jewish people have been victims of anti-Semitism in
many parts of the world, and in Europe they were the target
of the Holocaust -- the ultimate abomination. This fact must
never be forgotten or diminished," Mr. Annan said in his
opening address to the conference, which runs through next

"It is understandable, therefore, that many Jews deeply
resent any accusation of racism directed against the state
of Israel -- and all the more so when it coincides with
indiscriminate and totally unacceptable attacks on innocent
civilians," Mr. Annan said.

But Mr. Annan said that Palestinians "cannot be expected to
accept [the Holocaust] as a reason why the wrongs done to
them -- displacement, occupation, blockade and now
extrajudicial killings -- should be ignored."

But his message of moderation has been largely lost in the
conference, which at times has turned into a free-for-all of
opposing grievances and angry statements of victimhood.

South African President Thabo Mbeki, the conference host,
painted a bleak picture of a world split between rich whites
and poor blacks.

"It became necessary that we convene ... because, together,
we recognized the fact there are many in our common world
who suffer indignity and humiliation because they are not
white," Mr. Mbeki said.

"Their cultures and traditions are despised as savage and
primitive and their identities denied," he added.

About 10,000 demonstrators, protesting everything from
Israeli polices to land redistribution in South Africa to
the lot of the untouchables in India, marched through the
streets of Durban yesterday.

Some 16,000 people have converged here, a seaside resort
town on the Indian Ocean, for all or part of the racism
conference. There are 2,119 delegates representing 153
nations; 2,911 accredited advocates of human rights, African
empowerment, international law and related organizations;
and roughly 250 U.N. Secretariat staffers. Their work is
being covered by 1,140 reporters, editors and technicians
around the world.

The Israelis, after threatening to boycott the proceedings
over the anti-Zionist language in conference documents, have
shown up with a delegation of 23 persons.

They are scheduled to address the conference this weekend.

Most governments have sent only midlevel delegations.

Mr. Annan implored delegates to come together.

"If we leave here without agreement, we give comfort to the
worst element in society," Mr. Annan said. If an agreement
is reached, "we shall send a signal of hope to brave people
who struggle against racism all over the world."
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(Wonder if he will take his entire motorcade?!!!........karen)

Amazons to guard Mugabe

HARARE: Zimbabwean despot Robert Mugabe has forged a desperate alliance with terrorist sympathiser Col. Muammar Gaddafi in a bid to cling to power.

The move will see guards trained by Gaddafi's personal protection team escorting Mugabe through the streets of Brisbane when he arrives in Australia for a meeting of Commonwealth heads of government next month.

And a unit of Gaddafi's notorious Amazons – an all-female force of elite guards who surround the Libyan leader at all times – will be stationed in Zimbabwe.

Reports from Harare this week suggest Mugabe is convinced Western powers are plotting to kill him and has turned to Gaddafi – who has survived at least four assassination attempts – for help.

Gaddafi – an international pariah due to his support for terrorist groups – was in Harare last month to sign a trade deal for the supply of Libyan oil worth $720 million to ease the country's fuel crisis.

Libya will also make a $180 million donation to Mugabe's campaign fund for next year's election – the biggest challenge the Zimbabwean leader has faced in his 20-year rule.

Gaddafi also agreed to buy Zimbabwean beef and, according to intelligence sources, has offered to send Libyans to manage commercial farms seized from white owners since Mugabe's militants began a series of land invasions in February last year.

In the past Gaddafi has called for all whites to be thrown out of Africa.

Harare's Financial Gazette newspaper also reported that a crucial part of the deal was protection.

Mugabe's bodyguards, in batches of 10, will travel to Tripoli for three-week training programs with all expenses paid by the Libyans.

The first team will return from the north African country in time for the Brisbane meeting, at which Mugabe is expected to receive a hostile reception and possibly face an attempted citizen's arrest by London-based Australian activist Peter Tatchell.

The campaigner for gay rights was injured by Mugabe's bodyguard when Mr Tatchell tried to arrest him in Brussels in March.

"The need to improve the President's security has been heightened by his fears the West wants to assassinate him before the presidential election next year," an intelligence source told the Gazette.

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Govt refuses Red Cross assistance to farm labourers

Constantine Chimakure

The government of Zimbabwe has refused permission to the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) to set up settlement camps for about 3 000 displaced farm labourers in the Wedza District of Mashonaland East, following the occupation of about 22 farms in the area last week.

Informed sources told The Zimbabwe Mirror that the ICRC had sought government authority to set up the camps, following reports that the farm labourers had been evicted from the farms by marauding war veterans and were just wandering around the outskirts of Harare in search of food and shelter.

But the head of the ICRC regional delegation, based in Harare, Carlo Varlo von Slue, could not confirm or deny reports that his organisation had approached the government concerning the issue.

“We can’t comment publicly on that issue, and I think it is better to get the information from your government,” said Varlo von Slue.

However, he confirmed that the ICRC had toured the affected farms to assess the situation. A spokesperon for the Commercial Farmers Union told The Zimbabwe Mirror that they were informed that the government had barred the ICRC from establishing the settlement camps.

“We are informed that International Committee of the Red Cross was denied the right to assist the farm workers by the government and we wonder what really the motive was in doing so,” said the spokesperson.

The chairperson of the inter-ministerial committee on land reform, Ignatius Chombo, yesterday said he was not aware of the existence of displaced farm workers in the area, and of the reported approaches by the ICRC.

“I am not on the ground and to be honest with you I don’t know of the issues you are raising,” said Chombo.

Many of the labourers, according to the CFU, were from Wedza, a prosperous tobacco-growing area, where war veterans and landless people went on the rampage last week, in a wave of fresh farm occupations.

The CFU claimed over 3 000 farm workers and their families were completely displaced after war veterans forced farm managers to pay them off and track them away.

“Over 22 farms have been affected and 14 of these no longer have a labour force. Farmers have been told by war veterans to remove 4 000 head of cattle,” alleged the spokesperson.

She added that against this background, 12 farmers were recently granted a court order to allow them to return to their farms and continue farming.

There are approximately 80 CFU-registered farms in the Wedza District.

The spokesperson said as a result of the disturbances at the farms, the country stands to lose 352 000lb of tobacco and 19 600 tonnes of paprika.

The Wedza occupations followed the disturbances in Mashonaland West the previous week, in which about 40 farms were looted. The desperate farm labourers initially sought temporary sanctuary at police stations but have now turned to wandering in the district in search of help. It is estimated that over 3 000 farm labourers were affected in Wedza, while 14 000 more were also victims of land occupations in Chinhoyi a fortnight ago.

According to the General Agriculture and Plantations Workers Union (GAPWU) over 43 000 farm workers have lost their jobs since the beginning of land occupations in Zimbabwe in February last year.

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Zimbabwe: Mugabe ups stakes in final showdown

By Abel Mutsakani, Assistant News Editor, Financial Gazette, Zimbabwe

Robert Mugabe has intensified a vicious blitz against all perceived opponents while also using public funds to shore up waning support in what analysts say is his one last bid to avert likely defeat in next year's presidential election.

HARARE - In the last few months, Mugabe and his top lieutenants have enlisted sport, music, religion and even school children in a desperate drive to cultivate groups across the nation that could actively support and give legitimacy to Mugabe's controversial policies.

The analysts noted that violence and intimidation still remained central to Mugabe and his ruling ZANU PF party's survival strategy and said the planned deployment of soldiers on farms ostensibly to help resettle villagers was designed to frighten peasants into voting for Mugabe next year.

"These are desperate moves that are promoted by declining support," said University of Zimbabwe political scientist Masipula Sithole.

Sithole, who also heads the Harare-based Institute of Mass Public Opinion, said the use of soldiers to ensure the support of landless villagers was indication that "the government is no longer certain of support anywhere, even among its traditional supporters such as the peasant farmers".

Two weeks ago, Lands Minister Joseph Made announced that Zimbabwean soldiers would fan out into farms to help peg and demarcate land for allocation to villagers the government is resettling under its illegal fast-track land reforms.

No expertise

The army, feared by many ordinary Zimbabweans because it is often used by Mugabe to suppress popular dissent such as riots against high food prices, does not have any expertise on agrarian reform or rural resettlement.

An uncompromising drive by Mugabe in recent weeks to promote his allies into the judiciary has been complemented by moves to draft more of his hard-core supporters into the police and the army to tighten his hold on all critical arms of state ahead of the ballot.

Pro-Mugabe war veterans, blamed for causing anarchy in the country since last year, have been drafted into the army while an auxiliary police constabulary unit made up of ardent ZANU PF supporters was last week fully integrated into the police force.

A national youth service programme launched a month ago would only help divert attention from alarming unemployment levels of more than 60 percent while providing a platform to indoctrinate young Zimbabweans with ZANU PF philosophy, Zimbabwe Institute of Development studies professor Brian Raftopoulos said.

"The results of last year's parliamentary election scared them absolutely and this time round they are leaving nothing to chance," the respected Raftopoulos said.

The opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) nearly ended ZANU PF's 21-year hold on power in those elections, just losing by a narrow four seats.

Political observers and analysts say the charismatic MDC leader, Morgan Tsvangirai, could ride on voters' anger over Mugabe's failed economic and political policies to thrash the 77-year-old president at the ballot box next year.

The moves to tighten Mugabe's hold on the judiciary, the police and the army and to dole out cash donations to ZANU PF supporters were not just meant to build critical support for Mugabe's re-election bid, Raftopoulos said.

There were meant to garner support for every planned move by Mugabe, including contigencies such as a declaration of emergency rule and a suspension of the presidential election if he had no chance of victory.

A demonstration of grassroots support is necessary if Mugabe is to maintain a semblance of legitimacy necessary to re-engage the international community.


Raftopoulos said: "Threats by ZANU PF that they will not allow anyone else to rule this country should not be taken lightly. This is a party that believes it has a divine right to rule Zimbabwe."

In tandem with efforts to entrench ZANU PF's control of the state apparatus, the party's militants have in the past few weeks intensified violence against white farmers and MDC supporters, forcing many to flee their farms and homes for fear of their very lives.

Propaganda chief Jonathan Moyo has meanwhile stepped up a vicious campaign to marginalise all alternative voices, including the independent media which has continued to point out the government's shortcomings.

Seven journalists, all working for the independent media, have been arrested by police in connection with their work in the past three weeks.

A media campaign to market Mugabe and spruce up his battered image has also been launched by Moyo.

In one such desperate spin, state television last week repeatedly beamed footage of a smiling Mugabe with some obscure American businessmen showing off three cottages in one of Harare's poorest suburbs of Kambuzuma.

The state-run Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation told Zimbabweans the project under which the three pre-fabricated structures had been built would somehow help end entrenched poverty in the country.

Further away in Bulawayo, Moyo and other government ministers were busy handing out cash to school drama clubs and residents ostensibly under a $1 billion fund set up to promote the informal sector but which ZANU PF is openly using to buy voters' support.

Bulawayo residents elect a new executive mayor in two weeks' time and MDC candidate Japhet Ndabeni Ncube is widely tipped to beat ZANU PF's George Mlilo.

ZANU PF lost to the MDC in nearly all urban constituencies in last year's parliamentary election.

Cash handouts to town dwellers ostensibly in support of the informal sector and the introduction of costly commuter train services in Harare and Bulawayo are part of efforts by ZANU PF to win back the hearts and minds of urban voters.

At national level, Mugabe's government has set up "action Cabinet committees" which it says will solve within 66 days a plethora of economic problems that the government has failed to resolve in the past two decades.

Sithole said: "They (the government and ZANU PF) also do their own polling in private and they are aware of how low their popularity has sunk.

"The unfortunate thing for ZANU PF is that the people will see through all these attempts to hoodwink them. The simple question Zimbabwean are asking is: where was the government all along when things got this bad?"

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